Adding criminal sanctions to a legal minefield

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Brussels, Nov 22th 2005 -- European Parlement has driven a hearing on the proposed directive on criminal measures aimed at the prosecution of product piracy and counterfeit, especially in the context of organised crime. Because of careless drafting the text, known as IPRED 2 (2nd Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive) has severe flaws because it avoids clear definitions. FFII has pointed out some crucial dangers, specially concerning the criminalisation of daily business with patents and trademarks in such a "carpet-bombing lawmaking".

Report from the EP hearing on IPRED2 directive

In a first hearing on the IPRED2 directive and framework, many representatives spoke out against criminal sanctions on patent violations, or voiced concerns over them. Among them were BEUC, BSA, FFII, Sun, FSFE, British Telecom, and a representative from the pharmaceutical industry. The FFII pointed out it is impossible not to violate software patents, the IPRED 2 directive threatens Europe's software developers with imprisonment. The International Trademark Association presented a position paper in which they recommend to limit the scope to trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) representative was among those most in favour of the directive, she asked for even stronger enforcement measures, like access to retained telecommunication data. The FSFE commented that the directive will add unnecessary risks and costs to software development in general and could stifle some free software development models.

The rapporteur On. Nicola Zingaretti, MEP, said the Juri commission will meet on the subject next week (see item 5 on JURI agenda for 29/11/2005 meeting)

FFII's position presented with the following statement at the hearing

(text as pdf)

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