April 22, 2007 | By Danny O'Brien

UK Government Supports Vital Amendments from EFF Europe & Co.

This week, EFF Europe, in coalition with the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), the European Consumers Organisation (BEUC), the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA) and Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) drafted a set of amendments to IPRED2 that would soften the sting of the EU Commission's attempts to criminalize all EU IP infringement. In our open letter to MEPs, we expressed our belief that IPRED2, if it passed at all, should be restricted to genuinely commercial trademark counterfeiting and copyright infringement: the sort of organized fraud that the Commission says it wants to target.

The coalition drafted language to do that, and MEPs Eva Lichtenberger and David Hammerstein Mintz submitted it in the form of amendments designed to protect thousands of innovators, consumers and even librarians who might otherwise become copycriminals under the new law.

We're pleased to note that today, the UK government came out in agreement with our sentiments, and supported our amendments to limit IPRED2's reach, more precisely define "commercial scale" and "intentional infringement", as well as remove rightsholders' ability to take part in investigations of their own commercial rivals in "joint investigation teams".

The UK Government also gave its support to perhaps the best of all our suggestions: to throw the directive out entirely.

With consumers, librarians, innovators and now national governments expressing concern with this directive, MEPs voting next week should seriously consider rejecting IPRED2 wholesale, or, at the very least, agreeing to limit the damage of IPRED2 with our amendments.

If you're a resident of the EU, contact your MEP today, and tell him or her to support our coalition's amendments!

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