Feeds

Consumer body bemoans harsher Euro IP laws

Copyrights and responsibilities

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

UK quango the National Consumer Council (NCC) has called on European Commission legislators to take a fairer stance on consumer intellectual property rights.

The NCC believes it's disproportionate to invoke ever-tougher penalties for individuals found guilty of infringing intellectual property laws. The key word is 'individuals', because the NCC sees a clear difference between consumers copying content and "organised criminal gangs" doing the same.

There is a difference - the latter are motivated solely by financial gain while consumers generally aren't. At the same time, because technology has made it so easy for consumer to duplicate content, the effect on copyright holders is increasingly the same whoever does the copying.

"The European Commission must think again before bringing in new and tougher intellectual property laws," said the NCC's policy director Jill Johnstone. "Criminal sanctions for infringing copyright holders' rights must be applied only to organised crime - not to individual citizens making use of new technologies."

"Moves are afoot in Brussels to tighten up enforcement of intellectual property laws," she added. "It could mean consumers facing criminal sanctions and a criminal record for sharing creative content."

Alas, just as the EC is failing to differentiate between pirates and those who copy for convenience - which we think are the people the NCC has in mind: those folk who copy CDs so they can also play songs in the car, say - the NCC similarly fails to appreciate there's a difference between a consumer who engages in what might be termed a 'fair use' and another who posts thousands upon thousands of new songs for anyone and everyone to plunder.

"Any new laws must be very clear on this point and must strike a balance between right holders’ interests in getting a fair return and the public and consumer interests of fair access and use, and the encouragement of innovation," added Johnstone.

Her language puts her dangerously close to the techno-utopian camp, but still Johnstone and the NCC are correct on at least one point: future EC legislation does need to define closely what is reasonable copying - ripping a CD so you can play it on your iPod, an act currently illegal in the UK though not in some other European countries - and making it possible for anyone to steal music. In short, there needs to be a clear distinction made between the private and public domains. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.