International Campaign for an Open Digital Environment

CODE logoThe CODE campaign is an international coalition of civil liberties groups and consumer rights initiatives to protect consumer rights, innovation, and competition to reform the European Union Directive on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property.

The EU IP Enforcement directive passed the EU Parliament and Council of Ministers in March 2004. The directive allows for unannounced searches (“midnight knocks”), ISP’s being forced to turn personal information about customers over to Hollywood lawyers, and imprisonment for non-commercial infringements throughout the European Union. EU Member States are given 24 months in which to adopt the Directive into their own national laws.

While there remained a number of troubling provisions in the final directive that was passed by the EU Parliament, several of the most dangerous, like measures that would have forbidden Europeans from bypassing technological restrictions such as RFID tags and the criminal penalties were removed from the directive’s final version.

Above: (L) BUEC Representative Victoria Villamar, MEP Marco Cappato, IP Justice Executive Director Robin Gross, and European Digital Rights Initiative (EDRi) EU Affairs Director Andreas Dietl

General Information on EU IP Enforcement Directive:

On January 30, 2003 the Commission of the European Communities published its proposal for a Directive on measures and procedures to ensure the enforcement of intellectual property rights throughout the Community.

Unfortunately, the European Union Intellectual Property Enforcement Directive contains a number of seriously troubling provisions that threaten innovation and competition and endanger the civil rights of all Europeans. Specifically, Article 9 creates broad and easily abused subpoena powers for intellectual property holders to obtain personal information on consumers. And Article 2’s scope must be limited to only intentional commercial infringements. See IP Justice’s “Top 8 Reasons to Reject the EU IP Enforcement Directive”

Europeans' individual rights will be curtailed and media giants will gain more control...
Read the White Paper

Already the Enforcement Directive has been criticized by civil liberties groups and scientists for being overbroad in its prohibitions and for limiting traditional consumer rights, in both substance and procedure. It claims that it does not effect the substance of intellectual property rights in the EU. But it forbids the circumvention of technical devices that restrict a consumer’s ability to exercise her rights to use intellectual property, so in practice, she will experience a substantial loss to her rights if this proposal is enacted.

The directive passed in the EU Plenary currently set on 9 March 2004 and it was approved by the Council on 11 March 2004. The directive is to be implemented two years after its adoption by the European Commission, March 2006.

Above: IP Justice Executive Director Robin Gross explains consumers’ concerns about the new enforcement directive at an EU Parliament press conference in Strausbourg, March 2004.

CODE Response:

The Directive will have a widespread negative effect on civil liberties in Europe
Original Image Courtesy Liam Heffernan

Official Release and CODE Letter
Read the official media release and CODE Letter opposing the proposed Directive.

Translations of Official Release and CODE Letter
The official CODE media release and CODE Letter are available in a variety of languages:

  Dutch/Nederlands Italian/Italiano German/Deutsch
  English Swedish/Svenska Spanish/Español
  French/Français Finnish/Suomi Portuguese/Português

Read the White Paper
Read the IP Justice White Paper regarding the proposed Directive.

Groups ranging from the EFF to the Consumer Project on Technology have made statements about the proposed directive.

Official Documents
Official documents including meeting notices and official reports. The full text of the proposed IP Enforcement Directive is available on the Europa site. The proposed Green Party amendments are also available.

Take Action:

Send a fax or letter to your member of Parliament. Sample faxes and letters are available. Contact information for the members of the EUROPARL Committee on Legal Affairs and Internal Markets can be found here. Send them your thoughts regarding the proposed Directive.Enforcement Directive News
Read recent news about the proposed IP Enforcement Directive.

Join the Discussion List
IP Justice hosts a public email discussion list to enable wider community debate about the Directive. Sign up to participate in the public discussion today!

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