Comments, Statements, and Analysis about the Proposed IP Enforcement Directive:

February 11, 2004 IP Justice Statement to the EU Members of Parliament:
“Protecting Civil Liberties, Competition and Innovation in the EU Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive”
(Available as HTML, PDF document, Word document)

February 4, 2004 IP Justice Analysis of Key Provisions in 3 EU Proposals

IP Justice White Paper (August 2003):
“Europe’s Proposed Intellectual Property Enforcement Directive Unmasked:
Overbroad Proposal Threatens Civil Rights, Innovation and Competition”

Comments and Statements from other organizations in reaction to passage of the EU IP Enforcement Directive:


[W]e would have preferred a more focused Directive. In particular, mixing enforcement measures on trade mark protection with those on patents and copyright matters in the same instrument creates complexity.”
European Telecommunications Network Operators Association (9 March, 2004) Word Document

New: “I am extremely concerned about the haste with which these proposals are being rushed through. We are applying a far too broad brush approach to this and we could end up unfairly penalising the consumer without really getting to grips with large scale breaches of intellectual property.”
EU Green Party / EFA (9 March, 2004)

MEP Statements Regarding Passage

Portuguese MEP Sérgio Ribeiro‘s statement regarding his vote against the Directive (in Portuguese/Português, also see unofficial English translation)

Fourtou‘s statements prior to passage leaked to AEL (HTML) with AEL’s Rebuttal (PDF)

Comments and Statements from other organizations before passage:

New: Artist Statements from John Perry Barlow (songwriter for The Grateful Dead) , Michael Franti (leader of the band, Spearhead), and Alberto Cottica (songwriter with Fiamma Fumana).
Also see statement from Artist Janis Ian statements on the protection of intellectual property rights

New: ” What could patent and copyright holders threaten European free software users and distributors with if this legislation was passed? Shut down free software distribution sites…”
Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (UK) (Februrary, 2004)

New: “Die IP-Enforcement-Direktive der Europäischen Union”
Free Software Foundation Europe (FSF-Europe) statement (in German / Deutsch)

New: Statement from the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labor (BAK) regarding the IP Enforcement Directive (15 Sep., 2003) (in German / Deutsch)

“[T]his Directive goes further than international obligations, and recent amendments to the text by the European Parliament and the Council extend it’s effect to include unintentional, trivial, and non-commercial infringements, which may be punishable with penal sanctions. This undermines the user side of the “copyright bargain” by turning fair dealing into a minefield. Not only will this be harmful to society, but it is clearly beyond the remit of the Directive.”
Irish Free Software Organization (February, 2004) (PDF document)

We are very concerned that the EU Parliament is being put under enormous pressure to rush this legislation through all of its stages in the current parliamentary session, before the accession states become full EU members in June. We are worried that it is proposed to push through such a major change in such a sensitive area of the civil justice system — a truly massive change in the whole legal IP environment for most firms in Europe — in three weeks flat from first publication of the revised text to final vote in Plenary, short circuiting all the normal three readings procedures of the Parliament, and before even draft publication of the results of the UK consultation and the UK impact study.”
Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure – Statement to Lords (February 24, 2004) (PDF document in ZIP file)

The European Parliament is poised to adopt a controversial directive on Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement that would give rights-holders incredibly powerful tools in their fight against intellectual property infringers. While this might sound like a good idea at first, a closer look reveals that the directive doesn’t distinguish between unintentional, non-commercial infringers and for-profit, criminal counterfeiting organizations. If this directive is adopted, a person who unwittingly infringes copyright – even if it has no effect on the market – could potentially have her assets seized, bank accounts frozen and home invaded. Don’t let these tactics become the latest weapons in intellectual property rights-holders’ destructive war on ‘piracy.'”
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

Statement in Swedish from Profesor Marianne Levin:

Our position is that the Directive should remain faithful to its purpose, namely to combat counterfeiting and piracy. It will have an unintended deadening effect on the healthy development of the information society if its scope is widened to threaten ordinary people with penalties for minor infringements. Its provisions should be consistent with its stated objectives, and should not extend to inadvertent and/or trivial infringements, for example by schoolchildren, students, library and archive staff acting in good faith on behalf of their customers, or educational institutions whose networks are misused in isolated instances in spite their proper precautions.”
European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA)

“FFII believes that the best course would be for the directive to be limited to its original proposed scope, namely commercially organised recklessly intentional copyright and trademark infringement. Above all, FFII would like to see:

  1. Disputes about patents and trade secrets/confidential information taken out of the scope of the directive altogether. The draconian measures being discussed are completely inappropriate for such complex disputes.
  2. The Directive should only apply where there is intent to infringe for commercial gain on a commercial scale. It should not apply unless there is good evidence of recklessness or a deliberate knowing intention to infringe.
  3. Articles 7 to 10 should even then only apply in exceptional cases. It should be clearly stated in the Directive that they are not intended to become automatic standard procedure in all IP disputes.

FFII also believes that to allow proper public discussion and analysis in all the member states, the Parliament should allow at the very least a clear month from the publication of the Council draft text (17 Feb 2004) until the final closing date for amendments. This Directive is simply too important to get wrong.”
Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure

“Individual users of peer-to-peer software would face sanctions.”
Irish Free Software Organization

“… the Directive’s biggest danger: by targeting organized crime and p2p-users with the same weapon, the ones who will suffer the most damage could be the SMEs [Small and Medium Enterprises].”
Georg Jakob Statement

“… Article 3a would introduce an instrument that is legally so redoubtful that some member states have abstained from introducing it even in terrorism cases”
Foundation for Information Policy Reasearch

“There will be significant adverse effects on economic growth and innovation; the European Single Market will be undermined; and liberty will suffer in many ways…”
Foundation for Information Policy Research Analysis

” The language used in the proposed directive is especially worrying… it should be dismissed.”
Electronic Frontier Finland Statement to Ministry of Trade and Industry

“This draft directive, if passed, would represent a significant and unprecedented new set of liabilities for service providers, consumer electronics vendors, hardware manufacturers and ultimately consumers.”
US Internet Industry Association Alert on IP Enforcement Directive

“The U.S. experience with the DMCA demonstrates the dangers of an overbroad circumvention ban, and highlights the need for effective exceptions for lawful uses in EU Member States’ EUCD implementation legislation.”
Electronic Frontier Foundation Attorney Gwen Hinze

” The proposed Directive to guarantee enforcement of intellectual property rights is not satisfactory. There is even a statement that the Court could impose sanctions against a person presumed of copyright infringement even without hearing him first.”
Finnish Federation for Communications and Teleinformatics (FiCom) Statement

“The proposal does not provide for an officer of court such as a supervising solicitor to ensure fair play…”
UK Kingsgate Chambers Law & Technology Group Analysis

“The proposed Directive would go beyond those minimum provisions…”
“Consumer Project on Technology Comment

Requests for Comments

” If you have any comments on the Commission’s proposals at this stage, we would also like to hear from you as soon as possible.”
UK Patent Office Requests Comments on IP Enforcement Directive

Other Sites

EurActiv Dossier on IPRE Directive
Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure UK (FFI-UK)
Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) Alert
Association Electronique Libre Webpage on IP Enforcement Directive

Campaign for an Open Digital Environment