[FSFE PR][EN] European Parliament must prevent criminalisation of software vendors and users

Joachim Jakobs press at fsfeurope.org
Mon Apr 23 10:10:40 CEST 2007

European Parliament must prevent criminalisation of software vendors and

FSFE criticises the proposed "second Intellectual Property Enforcement
Directive" (IPRED2) for sweeping criminalisation across various areas of law
and loosely described areas of activity, including for 'attempting, aiding or
abetting and inciting.' The proposed text criminalises these acts for
infringement of many dissimilar laws including copyright, trademark, and
patents. "This threatens" according to a press release of FSFE "to introduce
intimidating degrees of punishment to activities which individuals,
community-based projects, and other small to medium-sized groups participate
in - groups that may not have sufficient money or lawyers to defend their
rights in court."

"The proposed text greatly increases the number of criminalised activities
 and is very unclear on where the limits are", explains Ciaran O'Riordan,
 FSFE's Brussels Representative, and continues "we understand criminal
 sanctions might form a useful part of consumer protection and can deter and
 help prosecution of cases of counterfeit pharmaceuticals or equipment that
 could create public safety risks. But it is obvious that applying the same
 sanctions to publishers and software developers is completely unnecessary
 and is harmful for society."

The Directive will be voted on next week when the MEPs are in Strasbourg.  If
member states already have such consumer protection laws in place, then
rejecting the Directive outright would also be a good option.

"This directive targets users, distributors, developers and publishers of
software in general, including those of Free Software," explains Georg Greve,
President of FSFE. "In combination with the lack of a strong directive
against software patentability, the directive would create incalculable risk
for all participants of the information society."

In a broad coalition with FFII, EFF, EBLIDA, and BEUC, FSFE calls on all
participants of the information society in EU member states to support the
joint amendments published on FFII's site.  FSFE's open letter has been sent
to MEPs in six languages so far.

About the Free Software Foundation Europe:

   The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
   non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
   involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
   participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation
   in the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free
   Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the
   furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study,
   modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these
   issues, securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving
   people Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are
   central issues of the FSFE.

[1] http://fsfeurope.org/projects/ipred2/letter-april-2007.en.html

Joachim Jakobs <jj at office.fsfeurope.org
Media Relations - FSF Europe (http://fsfeurope.org)
Tel: +49 700 - 373387673, Ext.: 404
Mobile: +49-179-6919565

Join the Fellowship and protect your freedom!      (http://www.fsfe.org)

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