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[Fwd: Zingaretti MEP stops colleagues from criminalising themselves]



Jäkla bra pressrelease :-)

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Zingaretti MEP stops colleagues from criminalising themselves
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 13:59:39 +0100
From: Jonas Maebe <sslug@sslug>
To: sslug@sslug

PRESS RELEASE -- [ Europe / Economy / IPR / Consumers ]

========================================================================
Zingaretti MEP stops colleagues from criminalising themselves
========================================================================

Brussels, 26 February 2007 -- The European Parliament's Legal Affairs
Committee (JURI) vote on the "IPR Enforcement Directive" (IPRED2),
originally scheduled for tomorrow, was postponed today for the third
time. With this action the European Parliament's rapporteur, Nicola
Zingaretti, sends a strong political signal to the Commission to
withdraw or rewrite its proposal. The delay may also offer IP lawyers
and MEPs Toine Manders and Klaus-Heiner Lehne the necessary time to
clean up their websites before they legislate themselves into jail.

The FFII applauds Mr. Zingaretti's resolute decision to postpone the
vote. Previous EP President Joseph Borrell said in his farewell speech
to the House, referring to the failed software patents directive, that
the EP is not a paper tiger and will reject certain proposals it deems
inappropriate. Mr. Zingaretti now shows that also less drastic measures
can be used to tell the Commission that doing business is not a crime in
the EU.

The FFII has learned that one of Mr. Zingaretti's concerns is that
further weakening the definition of "commercial scale", or even outright
removing that requirement from the directive, would hit consumers. Jonas
Maebe, FFII analyst, said: "We believe that a definition of commercial
scale in terms of intent to earn a profit is indispensable for fixing
this directive, although it is obviously not enough in itself. For one,
it does not help businesses threatened by for example a troll holding a
shaky design right."

The fact that regular citizens can easily criminalise themselves if the
directive were to be approved without significant changes, is
demonstrated by MEPs Toine Manders and Klaus-Heiner Lehne, both of whom
are lawyers specialised in intellectual property law. The websites of
both Members contain copyright infringing images, and in case of
Manders' site there is also a count of trademark infringement. Manders
previously tabled an amendment which could consequently turn all
visitors of his website into "dealers of stolen goods".

"Only extremists would claim that both MEPs are criminals merely because
their websites contain a few infringing images. Lehne, Nicole Fontaine
and Janelly Fourtou, supported by Manders, however tabled amendments
which would equate this situation with someone selling counterfeit
watches or DVDs. And your nephew, who put a couple of Pokémon(tm)
pictures on his website, would also be in the same boat", Maebe added.
"But if even staunch, professional supporters of IPRs make a mistake
every now and then, where does that leave the rest of us?"

The FFII has created two fliers illustrating how the MEPs' websites
infringe, and pointing out some of the gravest shortcomings of the
directive as it currently stands:

* Flier based on Mr. Lehne's website
http://people.ffii.org/~jmaebe/ipred2/Lehne_website.pdf

* Flier based on Mr. Manders' website
 http://people.ffii.org/~jmaebe/ipred2/Manders_website.pdf

The next possible date for adoption of the JURI opinion is 19 or 20
March 2007.


========================================================================
Background Information
========================================================================

* Q: Is the FFII itself not infringing on various copyrights by
reproducing these images and website impressions without permission?

A: The FFII believes these reproductions are covered by the copyright
law exemption which allows citing a copyrighted work for the purpose of
criticism or education. This question however illustrates the potential
dangers of this directive for free speech and journalism, as the
criminal measures it lays down can be easily abused to harass critics.


* Q: Would the above infringements still be of a criminal nature without
the amendments of Lehne, Fontaine and Fourtou, which propose to scrap
the "commercial scale" requirement?

A: This depends on which other amendments are approved, and even then it
is not always clear. JURI amendments which require that an infringement
is carried out with the intent to earn a (financial) profit would
classify these infringements as civil rather than criminal cases.

The effects of amendments which merely mention gaining a "direct or
indirect commercial/economic advantage" are less clear, since by not
paying for the rights to those images both MEPs may be considered to
gain an economic advantage (just like someone who downloads music for
free without permission rather than paying for it).


========================================================================
Links
========================================================================

* EP Member: confused consumers are dealers of stolen goods
http://press.ffii.org/Press_releases/EP_Member%3A_confused_consumers_are_dealers_of_stolen_goods

* Flier based on Mr. Lehne's website
http://people.ffii.org/~jmaebe/ipred2/Lehne_website.pdf

* Flier based on Mr. Manders' website
http://people.ffii.org/~jmaebe/ipred2/Manders_website.pdf

* Mr. Lehne's website (after entering, click on "Ad Personam")
http://www.kh-lehne.de

* Mr. Manders' website (the external site on which the linked Rolex(tm)
picture is hosted is unavailable since this morning)
http://www.toinemanders.nl

* FFII IPRED2 information website
http://action.ffii.org/ipred2

* FFII analysis of and recommendations for the JURI amendments
http://action.ffii.orgipred2/JURI_Tabled_Amendments

* Permanent link to this press release
http://press.ffii.org/Press_releases/Zingaretti_MEP_stops_colleagues_from_criminalising_themselves


========================================================================
Contact Information
========================================================================

Ante Wessels
FFII analyst
+31-6-100 99 063
sslug@sslug
(Dutch/English)

Jonas Maebe
FFII analyst
sslug@sslug
(Dutch/English)

Benjamin Henrion
FFII Brussels
+32-2-414 84 03 (fixed)
+32-484-56 61 09 (mobile)
sslug@sslug
(French/English)


========================================================================
About the FFII
========================================================================

The FFII is a not-for-profit association registered in twenty European
countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the
public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, open standards.
More than 850 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have
entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions
concerning exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.

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