Remarks of Italian MEP Marco Cappato – EU Plenary Debate 9 March 2004
(Translation from Italian):

– – – – – – –

Mr. President, unlike President Imbeni, I have no reason to celebrate and rejoice with the procedure followed, because an early conciliation, as the President has defined it, is not a good procedure.

Conciliation has, for very good reasons, its own rules and its own development, so that many MEPs, and the Parliament itself, can be involved in the debate and in clarifying the doubts on the text that gets formed. You cannot have just four or five members of some party seize the procedure to reach a compromise text, a few days before the vote, ordering fellow MEPs to avoid touching what they cooked up in their early conciliation. Contrary to President Imbeni, I do not think this is a good procedure.

Looking at what is happening to this report anyone can see the consequences of what I am pointing at. It is not true that this compromise clearly limits the scope of the directive. If this were true, if this were your real intention, then you could adopt, for example, amendment 101 – which we tabled together with some colleagues – which
explicitly aims at limiting the scope of the directive to intentional infringements and commercial purposes.

The truth is that, even if criminal sanctions have been stripped out from the compromise, there are still pre-emptive measures and they are very dangerous, regardless the outcome of investigations and procedures. We risk creating a system by which it is de facto simple, partly even for private actors, to search, seize assets, take pre-emptive measures that risk putting markets in a situation of uncertainty and instability. The risk is that those with the most organized access to lawyers and law firms – the bigger groups – will be able to better scare and racket small and very small companies and in the end consumers as well.

It is not true that private copying is excluded from the scope of this compromise, because it is not spared from pre-emptive measures.

As a matter of fact, what is the reason for all of this? Why has it been necessary to do all this at all, this sort of special regulation, of emergency regulation? Maybe because intellectual property laws are mostly surpassed by digital technology?

The risk is that you, who want intellectual property to be respected like physical property, will end up passing laws that cannot be respected. It is not through police action or private policy that you will reach your goal. This way you will get the opposite goal, de-legitimizing the force and the value of laws.