Thursday, October 23, 2003

Via the EDRi-gram newsletter: The European Parliament's Judicial Affairs Committee (JURI)
should have discussed its Report on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights on Monday.

But 199 amendments have been proposed already and the translators were so overwhlemed they didn't get it translated into the EU's eleven official languages on time. English, Greek and Danish versions of the 159 page document were available just hours before the meeting. So no substantive business was done.

French MEP Janelly Fourtou (who is married to the chief executive of Vivendi Universal, Jean-René Fourtou) wants this directive to become law before the EU elections next summer.

"Mrs. Fourtou has been under attack from a large number of her Parliament colleagues, even from within her own Conservative Group. She is criticised for introducing a set of amendments criminalising even small-scale file sharers - and for her defence of an article in the draft directive that constitutes a violation of the EU's rules of procedure.

Article 20 of the draft directive deals with criminal law provisions for infringements of intellectual property rights. Some of the sanctions foreseen pre-empt a possible decision by a Court of Justice on whether such an infringement has taken place at all, and therefore constitutes so-called substantive law. In the EU's complicated lawmaking process, which foresees different procedures for different fields of competence, creating substantive criminal law is still an intergovernmental competence and can not take place under the co-decision procedure.

4 of the amendments aim at deleting Article 20, but Mrs. Fourtou and Commission officials alike are not willing to even discuss this. The initial discussion of the Report will now, as it seems, take place either on Tuesday, November 4th - the date initially foreseen for the vote in the Committee - or on November 6. The vote in the Committee would then take place either on November 26 or the following day, which would mean the vote in Plenary would have to take place in the week following December 15.

EU Commission: Proposal for a Directive on measures and procedures to
ensure the enforcement of intellectual property rights [COM (2003) 46]

Janelly Fourtou's Draft Report on this Directive

199 Amendments to the Fourtou Report

Law Professors criticise IPR Enforcement Directive

(Contribution by Andreas Dietl, consultant on EU privacy issues)"

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