European Parliament Adopts IP Enforcement Directive
The European Parliament voted in favour of a Directive on the enforcement of intellectual and industrial property rights, such as copyright and related rights, trademarks, designs or patents. The Directive would require all Member States to apply effective, dissuasive and proportionate remedies and penalties against those engaged in counterfeiting and piracy and so create a level playing field for right holders in the EU. The European Commission proposed the Directive on 30 January 2003. The proposal will now go forward to the Council of Ministers.
The draft Directive, which covers infringements of intellectual property rights provided under Community law and/or by national law of the Member States, includes procedures covering evidence and the protection of evidence and provisional measures such as injunctions and seizure. Remedies available to right holders would be the destruction, recall or permanent removal from the market of illegal goods, as well as financial compensation, injunctions and damages. There would be a right of information allowing judges to order certain persons to reveal the names and addresses of those involved in distributing the illegal goods or services, along with details of the quantities and prices involved.
"Under this Directive, 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," said EFF staff attorney Gwen Hinze.
EFF and a coalition of consumer groups strongly supported a set of amendments to the proposed Directive tabled by Italian MEP On. Marco Cappato, which would have limited the Directive's application to intentional, commercial-scale infringement. Unfortunately, those amendments were rejected in a 330 -151 member vote with 39 abstentions.
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