Monday, September 08, 2003

Vera Franz posted this to one our mail-lists:

FIPR Press Release

Implemeting the EU Copyright Directive

Available in other EU languages at

New report finds problems with EU copyright law-----------------------------------------------
European citizens could find many common activities banned as the EU
Copyright Directive becomes law, a new FIPR report reveals. Transferring
songs from a copy-protected CD to a Walkman or computer could be
illegal, as could watching a DVD on a computer running Linux.

"Implementing the EU Copyright Directive", published today, reports on
legal developments across the EU as member states change their laws to
comply with the Directive.

It finds that it is now illegal in several countries such as Greece and
Germany to use copyrighted works such as CDs, films or electronic books
in ways restricted by the publisher. Offenders can be fined tens of
thousands of euros and imprisoned for several years.

Few EU countries provide an effective mechanism for consumers to make
use of their legal rights. Most require consumers to complain to a
government body, which may then take several months to enforce those
rights. Nor do these bodies include consumer representatives.

Little provision has been made to stop copyright law being used to raise
prices to consumers for items such as game console accessories or
printer cartridges. Without explicit protection, Europeans can expect to
see this type of anti-competitive behaviour cross the Atlantic from the
US, where it has become common under a similar law (the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act).

European research into computer security mechanisms will also be
damaged. On current plans, only German, Danish and Finnish scientists
will be allowed to investigate the effectiveness of measures that are
being used to protect copyright works.

Ian Brown, editor of the report, said: "These new laws are removing
European citizens' rights at the behest of Hollywood and the music
industry. They need to be rewritten to protect the owners of CDs, DVDs
and e-books as well as media companies."

The report can be accessed at:
Contacts for enquiries:
Ian Brown
Foundation for Information Policy Research
07970 164 526 (from outside the UK: +44 7970 164 526)

See FIPR's intellectual property pages at

Notes for editors

1. The Foundation for Information Policy Research (
is an independent body that studies the interaction between information
technology and society. Its goal is to identify technical developments
with significant social impact, undertake and commission research into
public policy alternatives, and promote public understanding and
dialogue between technologists and policy-makers in the UK and Europe.

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