Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/27/meps_ipr/

'Commercial scale' jitters delay Europe's IPR vote

MEPs mull and mull again

By Lucy Sherriff

Posted in Law, 27th February 2007 13:33 GMT

The European Parliament has once again postponed the vote on the latest version of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) directive. This time, the delay is to "find a final compromise" on the definition of what constitutes "commercial scale" infringement under the new proposals.

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure hailed the delay as a "strong political signal [from rapporteur Zingaretti] to the commission to withdraw or rewrite its proposal".

FFII analyst Jonas Maebe said: "We believe that a definition of commercial scale in terms of intent to earn a profit is indispensable for fixing this directive." He warns that if the commercial scale requirement of the law is weakened, ordinary consumers could easily be criminalised.

A spokesman for the bill, Socialist MEP Nicola Zingaretti, told us that a group of MEPs had made a request to change the definition and "it was thought more respectful" to give all the MEPs more time to consider the proposal.

The vote on the directive will now take place on 20 March. If it is passed, as seems likely at this stage, it will then head to a plenary session of the parliament some time in April or May. MEPs can introduce further amendments at this stage, Zingaretti's spokesman added. ®