European Parliament Adopts Controversial IP Enforcement Directive
The European Parliament today voted to adopt an overbroad Directive on
Intellectual Property Enforcement that gives rightsholders powerful new
enforcement tools to use against intellectual property infringers. EFF
opposed the proposed Directive because it did not distinguish between
unintentional, non-commercial infringement by consumers and for-profit
criminal counterfeiting enterprises. "Under this Directive, a person who
unwittingly infringes copyright - even if it has no effect on the market -
could potentially have her assets seized, bank accounts frozen, and home
invaded," said EFF staff attorney Gwen Hinze.
EFF and a coalition of consumer groups strongly supported a set of
amendments to the proposed Directive tabled by Italian MEP On. Marco
Cappato, which would have limited the Directive's application to
intentional, commercial-scale infringement. Unfortunately, those
amendments were rejected in a 330 -151 member vote with 39 abstentions.
The Directive now moves to the Council of Ministers, which is likely to
endorse it on March 11, 2004. EU Member States will then have 2 years to
implement the new enforcement provisions in their national law.