It looks like our big brother is not as bad as Europe's big brother

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Maverick74, Mar 9, 2004.

  1. Maverick74


    File swappers avoid home invasion

    A similar US law has led to lawsuits against pop-swappers
    Rampant song swappers could have their homes raided and property seized under an EU law passed on Tuesday.
    The new law puts in place tough measures to deal with anyone who flouts intellectual property rights.

    Before the vote, critics said the law was flawed as it applied the same penalties to both professional counterfeiters and consumers.

    But a late amendment limiting sanctions to organised counterfeiters and sparing online pop swappers was passed.

    The final vote on the EU Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive took place in the European Parliament on 9 March. The directive was passed by 330 votes to 151.

    The law was drawn up to target professional pirates, criminals and counterfeiters who make copies of everything from CDs to handbags.

    During the debates, the directive was widened to cover any infringement of intellectual property.

    The directive allows companies to raid homes, seize property and ask courts to freeze bank accounts to protect trademarks or intellectual property they believe are being abused or stolen.

    Music firms might come knocking if you are swapping pop
    Civil liberty and lobby groups feared that the music industry will also use the law to mount raids on the homes of people who swap songs via file-sharing systems such as Kazaa.

    The Enforcement directive was compared to the controversial US Digital Millennium Copyright Act by Andreas Dietl, director of EU Affairs for the European Digital Rights (EDRi) lobby group.

    The Recording Industry Association of America has used the DMCA to bring lawsuits against file-swappers in the US and EDRi fears the same could now happen in European countries.

    The European law was shepherded through the European Parliament by MEP Janelly Fourtou, wife of Jean-Rene Fourtou who is boss of media giant Vivendi Universal.

    But late amendments added to the law limited who intellectual property owners could take action against and what penalties they could apply.

    One amendment said action should not be taken against consumers who download music "in good faith" for their own use.

    Proposals to jail counterfeiters were also dropped from the act.

    Lobbyists fear that the law could threaten press freedom in countries, such as Spain, which include confidential information in definitions of intellectual property.

    In November, the EU copyright directive came into force in the UK which put many things people are used to doing with music, such as copying tracks to an MP3 player, fell into a legal grey area.

    EU ministers are expected to sign off on the new rules against counterfeiting by the end of the week.

    Member states would then have 18 months to implement their own versions of the directive.
  2. On this specific issue, yes, Europe is worse... But the banking privacy & drug laws are quite the opposite.
  3. Maverick74


    Actually the banking privacy laws suck in Europe now. Not anything like they use to be.

    But come on man, you have to admit, this is pretty barabaric. Having feds raid your home because you just downloaded the latest Dave Matthews song from the internet.

    Do you think John Ashcroft has anything to do with this? LOL.
  4. It's interesting that these countries are concerned about theft of intellectual property that basically adds nothing to society, eg rap cd's, but condone the theft of IP that is vital to our health and wellbeing, namely pharmaceuticals. They force drug companies, which just happen to be largely US-based, to sell drugs at cut-rate prices on the threat that they will otherwise allow the patents to be infringed by generic manufacturers. This practice of course forces the US consumer to subsidize the socialist health care systems of europe and canada. Now it has reached the idiotic stage that politicians and "consumer advocates" think a reasonable idea is for companies to export to Canada, then turn around and reimport the same drugs back in to the US at steeply discounted Canadian prices.

    I'm not against affordable drugs, but this whole scheme is a rip-off of the US consumers. We should be forcing these other countries to live up to their obligations regarding intellectual property of all kinds, not just those that benefit politicians spouses.
  5. Excellent points, AAA..

    May I also add to this argument the concept of "compulsory licensing" of drugs in underdeveloped countries. This is when, for example, Nigeria cannot afford to purchase HIV drugs for its AIDS epidemic, so it steals the patents for these drugs and manufactures and sells the drugs illegally. At first glance, you may say "hey, people are dying here! Not being able to afford the drugs shouldn't mean they should die!" But the reality is that this process -- distributing cheap drugs willy-nilly, only hurts everyone, since these AIDS drugs play evolutionary cat and mouse with the virus, and the widespread availability of the drugs WITHOUT THE PROPER INFRASTRUCTURE TO MONITOR THEIR PRESCRIPTION, simply causes the selection of viral strains which are resistant to the drug (which hurts everybody since now the drugs don't work as well anymore).

    Compulsory licensing is a perfect example of good intentions paired with long term stupidity.
  6. I hadn't thought about that mutant virus angle but it makes sense. Same sort of deal with TB bug I believe.

    The other problem of course is that the drug companies have little incentive to develop drugs for which there is not a big US market. Why waste a bunch of moeny, only to have the payoff stolen?

    Actually, I find this affordable drug issue to be one of the most difficult public policy issues around, right up there with the free trade/outsourcing issue. There are winners and losers, long and short term, no matter what one does.