It’s time to get in touch with your MEP again.
IPRED2 – the EU’s second intellectual property enforcement directive – is going to the vote at the EU Parliament next week. If it passes in its current form, "aiding, abetting, or inciting" copyright infringement on a "commercial scale" in the EU will become a crime. What’s more, it will be the first time the EU will force countries to impose minimal criminal sanctions – this is normally left up to the discretion of member states.
EFF Europe have set up a new website – copycrime.eu – to help stop the directive coming into law in its current form. According to them:
“IPRED2's new crime of "aiding, abetting and inciting" infringement takes aim at innovators, including open source coders, media-sharing sites like YouTube, and ISPs that refuse to block P2P services.
With the new directive, music labels and Hollywood studios will push for the criminal prosecution of these innovators in Europe, saying their products "incite" piracy - with EU taxpayers covering the costs.
Under IPRED2, these same entertainment companies can work with transnational "joint investigation teams" to advise the authorities on how to investigate and prosecute their rivals!”
The directive is poorly drafted, and doesn’t define “commercial scale” well enough to ensure that ordinary citizens exercising their rights under copyright and trademark law aren’t at risk of penalties and fines. EFF, FFII, BEUC and EBLIDA have jointly drafted a set of amendments, which have been tabled by the European Green Party. The amendments would:
- Limit the scope of IPRED2 to true criminal enterprises, involving copyright piracy and trademark violations done on a commercial scale, with malice and the intention of earning a profit from the enterprise
- Avoid creating an unprecedented scope of secondary liability for Internet intermediaries, ICTs, software vendors and a range of legitimate business activity, by removing the words "aiding or abetting and inciting" from Article 3
- Provide legal certainty by adopting precise and appropriate definitions of "on a commercial scale" and "intentional infringement" in Article 2 as commercial activity done with the intent to earn a profit directly attributable to the infringing activity
The coalition need you to get in touch with your MEP and ask him or her to support these tabled amendments before the vote on 24 April. All MEPs have been sent a copy of the proposed amendments, so they will know what you’re talking about when you ask them to “support the librarians', consumers' and innovators' coalition amendments to IPRED2”.
For more details on the amendments, advice and suggestions on what to say to your MEP, and to sign EFF Europe’s petition against IPRED2, visit the Copycrime action page.