EU legislation - The wrong note

The music industry is crying out loud against eu legislation for protecting intellectual property, complaining that it falls short of what is needed to fight piracy. The eu recently proposed a directive to integrate currently divergent systems in the continent for enforcing intellectual property laws, including copyrights and patents. The proposal concentrates on the most financially damaging infringements rather than on individual law-breakers, such as users of peer-to-peer file-trading services

 
Published: Saturday 15 March 2003

-- EU Legislation

The music industry is crying out loud against eu legislation for protecting intellectual property, complaining that it falls short of what is needed to fight piracy. The eu recently proposed a directive to integrate currently divergent systems in the continent for enforcing intellectual property laws, including copyrights and patents. The proposal concentrates on the most financially damaging infringements rather than on individual law-breakers, such as users of peer-to-peer file-trading services.

The eu issued a clarification that prosecuting large numbers of individuals for casual file swapping is simply not worth the time or money. But the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry disagrees. It complained that the proposed actions against individual offenders are too lenient and fall short of the us' Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Large international businesses are worried that the eu is diverging from the us in enforcing copyright laws, especially in light of the fact that as counterfeiting is estimated to reduce the eu's gross domestic product by eight billion euros annually.

European individual users are getting their way in software copyright issues as well. In January, a panel of judges ruled that a teenager did not violate Norway's laws when he broke protections on a dvd he had purchased, in order to use a Linux computer to play the disc. The judges ruled that the defendant cracked the dvd's copy protection for his own personal use.

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