European Parliament Calls For EU-Wide Copyright Law

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As if the UK Copyright Act was not controverisal enough, now the European Parliament is calling for a wide ranging EU copyright law

Arguments about the UK’s Digital Ecomomy Act could pale into insignificance if the European Commission gets its way, after MEPs urged the European Commission to create a directly enforceable EU-wide copyright law.

The reason? They feel that current laws are not closely harmonised enough.

According to Out-Law.com, the Parliament has adopted a report from a French MEP which examined the state of intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement, and has recommended the creation of a new European copyright law to help reduce infringement.

MEP Copyright Push

“[The Parliament] is of the opinion that the possibility of proceeding against infringers of intellectual property rights should be created in the European legal framework,” it said. The report calls on the Commission to conduct “an assessment of the ways to strengthen and upgrade the legal framework with respect to the Internet”.

The report, by Marielle Gallo, asks the Commission to review the impact of 2004’s Directive on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, and to propose amendments to it which would strengthen EU powers to tackle infringement.

It also said that existing legal regimes were not up to the job of punishing or discouraging infringements.

“[The Parliament] does not share the Commission’s certitude that the current civil enforcement framework in the EU is effective and harmonised to the extent necessary for the proper functioning of the internal market,” it said.

The report was adopted by the Parliament today by a vote of 328 to 245.

France, along with the UK, has recently passed laws that deal directly with the problem of copyright infringement and the internet.

Act Controversy

The UK’s Digital Economy Act proved to be a hugely controversial piece of legislation and was rushed through in the last days of the Labour parliament. The new government has recently confirmed that the implimentation costs of the Act will be divided between copyright owners and ISPs, leading consumer groups to fear that this will in turn push up home broadband prices.

Last week, a report by the Business Software Alliance and IDC that claimed that the UK could be missing out on £5.4 billion in new economic activity by 2013 due to software piracy, was dismissed by many industry commentators as mere “propaganda”.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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