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Concerns about my civil liberties

To my representatives in the European Parliament

Being:

  • DE KEYSER, Véronique: vdekeyser at europarl.eu.int
  • DEPREZ, Gérard M.J: gdeprez at europarl.eu.int
  • DHAENE, Jan: jdhaene at europarl.eu.int
  • DILLEN, Koenraad: koen.dillen at skynet.be
  • GROSCH, Mathieu J.H.: mgrosch at europarl.eu.int
  • HANSENNE, Michel: mhansenne at europarl.eu.int
  • MAES, Nelly: nmaes at europarl.eu.int
  • SMET, Miet: msmet at europarl.eu.int
  • SÖRENSEN, Patsy: psorensen at europarl.eu.int
  • STAES, Bart: bstaes at europarl.eu.int
  • STERCKX, Dirk: dsterckx at europarl.eu.int
  • THYSSEN, Marianne L.P.: mthyssen at europarl.eu.int
  • VAN HECKE, Johan: jvanhecke at europarl.eu.int
  • ZRIHEN, Olga: ozrihen at europarl.eu.int

Objections to the IPRED

Dear Madam, Sir,

As my representatives in the European Parliament, I would like to utter my concerns to you about a dangerous new anti-piracy law that was passed yesterday, known as IPRED.

The European Union Parliament passed a controversial directive that will treat average consumers who accidentally infringe a single copyright with the same harsh penalties formerly reserved for large commercial counterfeiters.

The EU Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive creates powerful new enforcement measures to be applied throughout the EU that permit Hollywood and recording industry executives to civilly prosecute consumers for minor and non-commercial infringements of intellectual property rights.

Never did the parliament provide any justification or public policy rationale for why average consumers who make a single private copy should be treated as if they were peddling counterfeit pharmaceuticals by European law courts.

This law also provides for "midnight knocks" that permit private citizens' homes to be raided by recording industry executives, and freezing of consumers' bank accounts and other assets without the need for a court hearing.

It seems that there is an inherent conflict of interest: the French MEP Janelly Fourtour will directly profit from the new EU law she rushed through the parliament without a usual "Second Reading" debate. Fourtour's family owns the world's largest entertainment company, Vivendi-Universal, and has today been granted powerful new enforcement provisions to prosecute consumers for minor and non-commercial infringements.

While I do support firm action to crack down on organized counterfeiting and piracy, I am very afraid of this new law and fear for my privacy, my home, my human rights and my freedom in the EU.

I would like to see:

  1. Disputes about patents and trade secrets/confidential information taken out of the scope of the directive altogether. The draconian measures being discussed are completely inappropriate for such complex disputes.
  2. The Directive should only apply where there is intent to infringe for commercial gain on a commercial scale. It should not apply unless there is good evidence of recklessness or a deliberate knowing intention to infringe.
  3. Articles 7 to 10 should even then only apply in exceptional cases. It should be clearly stated in the Directive that they are not intended to become automatic standard procedure in all IP disputes.

Please bring this issue to the attention of your colleagues.

Yours sincerely,

Machtelt Garrels.

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