EP/ INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS: 35 MEPs TABLE AMENDMENTS TO PROTECT USERS' PRIVACY, AND FOR PROPORTIONALITY OF COPYRIGHT SANCTIONS AND FAIR ADMINISTRATIVE AND LEGAL PROCEDURES.

Marco Cappato, Radical MEP, tabled 5 amendments on the proposal for a directive on measures and procedures to ensure the enforcement of intellectual property rights (Fourtou Report), with the backing of the Radical MEPs and signatories collected among the Green, ELDR, EPP, UEN and GUE Groups.

The five amendments are aimed to protect individual privacy, limit the harmonisation of the enforcement of property rights only at the level of commercial-scale infringement and eliminate legal tools that are not recognised in many Member States.

Declaration of Marco Cappato:

"The primary rationale for enacting the enforcement directive is supposed to be the reduction of distortions in the EU Single Internal Market by reducing disparities between national laws.  However, this rationale does not apply to unintentional or non-commercial scale acts of infringement.  Given the differences in Member States' copyright and related right laws, and trademark laws, there are significant differences as to which acts constitute infringement under different national laws.  For instance, when consumers create an MP3 copy of an audio CD that they have purchased and burn it on to a CD-ROM for personal use in their cars, this may be infringement in one Member State, but not in another.  Furthermore, small businesses that in good faith use software that is later alleged to infringe copyright should not be targeted in the same way as commercial counterfeiters.  Accordingly, it is appropriate and proper to harmonise enforcement only at the level of intentional commercial infringement, since it is the only standard that is common across Member States, and is the relevant focus for removal of distortions within the Internal Market.

The directive lacks balance and proportionality since average consumers face the same treatment as major commercial counterfeiters for minor infringements with no commercial impact."

The amendments also aim at better protecting all affected parties' due process and privacy rights by limiting pretrial judicial applications to cases of commercial infringement.  Without this limitation there would be a substantial risk that such applications would be used as means of harrassing individuals on a large scale, rather than as the proper preliminaries to a substantial civil case.

For further information: mcappato@europarl.eu.int
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