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The Courts Government News Your Rights Online

EU Passes Nasty IP Law 375

Posted by michael
from the smoke-filled-room dept.
FireBreathingDog writes "This BBC report details a new European Union law that '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.'" Like any bit of controversial legislation, it can change massively just before being voted upon. This legislation, which originally had DMCA-like provisions (protections for technical protection measures on copyrighted works), seems to have lost them prior to passage. (I'm sure they'll be back in some new piece of legislation.) However, it does make "regular" copyright enforcement much more aggressive in the EU, with companies able to raid, confiscate and freeze the bank accounts of those accused of copyright infringement. More information: IP Justice, FFII, FFII background.
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EU Passes Nasty IP Law

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  • by MrRTFM (740877) * on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:28AM (#8519613) Journal
    from the article: But late amendments added to the law limited who intellectual property owners could take action against and what penalties they could apply.
    This would be just great if companies like SCO get to have this power. The average politition may not realise what their new 'core business' consists of, and give them the keys to the IP city. In 16 months time will it be a common sight to see 'SCOrm Troopers' busting through windows of offices and razing them?

    It's bad enough with the government departments doing this, but profit based companies? Shit, this is scary stuff
    • Welcome to the UK, how may we abuse you ?
      • This has no relevance to parent post whatsoever, but it needs to be said and read.

        These new laws, which probably will be passed, may have some nasty DMCA like tendencies, but there are good news as well.

        It will outloaw technological measures to prevent free trade (like DVD-zones). It's not all to the record/movie-business.

        Even if this law, I must admit, is the lowest I've ever seen the EU crawl for the industry.

        • Re:Good news (Score:5, Informative)

          by KDan (90353) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:52AM (#8519966) Homepage
          This amendment seems decent enough:

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

          If it basically restricts the suing to professional pirates, ie people who download music or movies to sell it on the street, then I don't see anything wrong with it. That's what copyrights were meant to do - protect artists/publishers from other publishers (and not from consumers).

          If that's what this law is, it seems pretty sensible after all!

          • Re:Good news (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Jane_Dozey (759010) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @09:29AM (#8520224)
            but its open to abuse. Large corporations don't seem to be above that kind of thing. And shouldn't it be left up to the police to sort this type of thing out?
          • Re:Good news (Score:5, Informative)

            by Catbeller (118204) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @12:04PM (#8521526) Homepage
            The problem is simple: the interpretation of "good faith" is up to the raiding corporation.

            Scientology is going to LOVE this. Anywhere, anytime, in they come through the windows! Frozen bank accounts! Jail! And all they have to do is ASK?

            Yeah, you can take them to court. After all your stuff is gone, your bank accounts locked up, and your person seized.

            Does no one remember alt.scientology.war in Wired magazine? Time magazine? Arnie Lerma? The first spam assault back in 97-98, with over 1 million spam messages and forgeries posted to alt.religion.scientology?

            They were the first copyright abusing corporate entity, and the first to use spam as a weapon. And they are still #1 for suppressing coverage of their activities. Does no one remember what they did when they didn't have the law on their side? They were raiding THEN.

            No one can stand up to the Hubbardites in Europe anymore if even a fraction of this insanity becomes law. will have its hosting ISP's doors kicked in the week after this passes. It'll be illegal in real terms to talk about their "secret" teachings on the internet. This is an eternal gag order.

            Music? Movies? That's kiddy stuff. The nuclear strength copyright maniacs are what we have to worry about.
            • There's a whole lot of hullaballo by people who don't quite get the picture here. It's an E.U. DIRECTIVE. Not the same as a law. It's a bunch of orders which should be implemented in State law as the governments see fit. (They only have to follow the broad thrust of the directive, and not clash with it).

              If a government decides to implement this in a draconian way - then it is that government who should be lambasted, NOT the E.U. This is the usual E.U. bashing from Euroskeptics who are having the wool pulle
              • Re:DON'T PANIC (Score:3, Interesting)

                by cayenne8 (626475)
                Yes, but, doesn't it seem a little bad to ever suggest that harse measures like these even be considered by the governments in the EU?
    • It looks like this wouldn't be Germany, as German courts have been ruling in very anti-sco^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hignorancially-challenged descisions.
    • Here's Section 8 of the FFII legislation:
      Article 8
      Measures for protecting evidence

      1. Member States shall ensure that even before the commencement of proceedings on the merits of the case the competent judicial authorities may, on application by a party who has presented reasonably available evidence to support his claims that his intellectual property right has been infringed or is about to be infringed, order prompt and effective provisional measures to preserve relevant evidence in regard to the alleged infringement, subject to the protection of confidential information. Such measures may include the detailed description, with or without the taking of samples, or the physical seizure of the infringing goods, and, in appropriate cases, the materials and implements used in the production and/or distribution of these goods and the documents relating thereto. These measures shall be taken, if necessary without the other party having been heard, in particular where any delay is likely to cause irreparable harm to the right holder, or where there is a demonstrable risk of evidence being destroyed.

      Where evidence-protection measures have been adopted without the other party having been heard, the affected parties shall be given notice immediately after the execution of the measures at the latest. A review, including a right to be heard, shall take place upon request of
      the affected parties with a view to deciding, within a reasonable period after the notification of the measures, whether the measures shall be modified, revoked or confirmed.

      2. Member States shall ensure that the evidence-protection measures may be subject to the applicant's lodging of an adequate security or equivalent assurance intended to ensure compensation for any prejudice suffered by the defendant as provided for in paragraph 4.

      3. Member States shall ensure that the evidence-protection measures shall be revoked or otherwise cease to have effect upon request by the defendant, without prejudice to the damages which may be claimed, if the applicant has not instituted legal proceedings
      leading to a decision on the merits of the case before the competent judicial authority within a reasonable period, to be determined by the judicial authority ordering the measures when the law of a Member State so permits or, in the absence of such determination, within a period not to exceed 20working days or 31calendar days, whichever is the longer.

      4. Where the evidence-protection measures have been revoked, or where they lapse due to any act or omission by the applicant, or where it is subsequently found that there has been no infringement or threat of infringement of any intellectual property right, the judicial authorities shall have the authority to order the applicant, upon request of the defendant, to provide the defendant with appropriate compensation for any injury caused by these measures.

      5. Member States may take measures to protect witnesses' identity.

      So from paragraph 1, it seems as though the applicant (the one wishing to do a raid, for example) will need to demonstrate to "competent judicial authorities" that there is a clear and present danger of evidence being destroyed. Additionally, as per paragraphs 2 and 4, applicants will also need to provide assurance that, in the event the defendent is found not to be infringing, compensation for injury caused by whatever actions taken is provided.

      Basically, SCO could use something like this, but it better have some significant cash on hand to reimburse any raided companies for downtime and losses incurred. Not quite as draconian as the summary would have you believe. But then, posting controversial summaries is Slashdot's hallmark. :)
      • Not true (Score:5, Informative)

        by NigelJohnstone (242811) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @09:26AM (#8520196)
        "will need to demonstrate ....that there is a clear and present danger of evidence being destroyed"

        Not true, this was one of the things I didn't like. Its worded loosely here:

        ", in particular where any delay is likely to cause irreparable harm right holder, OR where there is a demonstrable risk of evidence being destroyed"

        Note the 'OR', its enough to show that a delay is likely to cause irreparable harm. They don't have to show there is a risk of evidence being destroyed.

    • by tiger99 (725715) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:52AM (#8519965)
      It actually means that the FSF, Linus and other copyright owners can raid SCO because they are distributing GPL code, their right to do so having terminated when they attempted to illegally sell licences for GPL code.

      I hope that they will do so, it should be sufficient to put an end to SCO and their illegal behaviour.

    • by zangdesign (462534) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @11:03AM (#8520964) Journal
      The first time a corporation busts through my window will be the last time that individual stormtrooper breathes on his/her own. I'm not a violent person by any means, but turning over law enforcement functions to private companies is not right and I won't tolerate it.

      You want to arrest me? Fine, send the regular police. No problem there. Federal agents even.

      Private corporations? Never.
  • by Krach42 (227798) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:31AM (#8519627) Homepage Journal
    *knock knock knock*

    Who's there?

    Goons... Hired goons.
  • More information (Score:5, Informative)

    by Underholdning (758194) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:31AM (#8519630) Homepage Journal
    Here's [] some more [] information.
  • GPL violations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajagci (737734) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:33AM (#8519636)
    with companies able to raid, confiscate and freeze the bank accounts of those accused of copyright infringement.

    Maybe one can use this against GPL violations. What does the legislation say about when, oh, Phillips or Vivendi might be violating GPL terms? Can we have their assets frozen?
    • What if you accused the government?
    • Re:GPL violations (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mattjb0010 (724744)
      Maybe one can use this against GPL violations. What does the legislation say about when, oh, Phillips or Vivendi might be violating GPL terms?

      Violations of GPL are violations of contractual terms, not copyright, so it probably says nothing.
      • Re:GPL violations (Score:2, Informative)

        by AaronGTurner (731883)
        If a party was found in a court of law to be infringing the GPL, this would presumably allow the copyright holders to subsequently seek restitution for violation of their copyright if the defendant continued to use the code. But the first court case would need to be won before this could be done.
        • Re:GPL violations (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Tomun (144651) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:50AM (#8519953)
          Eben Moglen says :
          We will say to the judge, "Judge, Mr. Defendant has used our copyrighted work, copied it, modified it and distributed it without permission. Please make him stop."

          One thing that the defendant can say is, "You're right. I have no license." Defendants do not want to say that, because if they say that they lose. So defendants, when they envision to themselves what they will say in court, realize that what they will say is, "But Judge, I do have a license. It's this here document, the GNU GPL. General Public License," at which point, because I know the license reasonably well, and I'm aware in what respect he is breaking it, I will say, "Well, Judge, he had that license but he violated its terms and under Section 4 of it, when he violated its terms, it stopped working for him."

          But notice that in order to survive moment one in a lawsuit over free software, it is the defendant who must wave the GPL. It is his permission, his master key to a lawsuit that lasts longer than a nanosecond.

          Full text at Groklaw []
  • Highlights (Score:5, Informative)

    by 222 (551054) * <stormseeker&gmail,com> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:33AM (#8519638) Homepage
    Since your not going to rtfa, ill drop the highlights.

    ["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 limited them to organised counterfeiters and not people downloading music at home."]

    ["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. "]

    ["One amendment said action should not be taken against consumers who download music "in good faith" for their own use."]
    • by Krach42 (227798)
      My lazy clicking finger thanks you.
    • Re:Highlights (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:42AM (#8519670)
      ["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. "]

      And there you have it.

      Nice to see politicians (are MEPs even elected?) have *our* best interests at heart.

      • Re:Highlights (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 222 (551054) * <stormseeker&gmail,com> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:54AM (#8519721) Homepage
        This also made my stomach turn. When i was younger, i believed that corporations had an invisible influence over the workings of certain governments. The older i became, the more i realized that there was nothing covert about it.
        I've spent a lot of time wondering where the blame should go.
        Is it apathetic voters that simply dont have time to research what potential canidates have done?
        Is it an abusing lobbying system that wont change because the people that receive the money are also the ones that make the laws?
        Is it what ive heard Noam Chomsky refer to as "Institutional Control"? IE, your more than welcome to discuss the US involvement with Uzbekistan in your political science class, but expect your govt funding to be terminated shortly...
        At any rate, I agree with your sentiment.
        • by MickLinux (579158) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:50PM (#8527363) Journal
          Quite simply, the government is a battleground for different powers, be they the populace, wealthy individuals, wise counsel, charismatic leaders, or whatnot.

          Traditionally, each of these powers has created its own government, which lasted for a short while. When recognized by a government, the power is controlled, and you don't have illegitimate control over the government by that power.

          However, when a power isn't recognized, then it can overwhelm the government, and cause it to fall in a characteristic fashion.

          Ignore the populace, and you get a French-style revolution. (We have Congress).

          Ignore the charismatic leader, and you get a coup. (We have the President).

          Ignore the wise counsel, and you get civil disorder (we have the supreme court).

          Ignore the press, and you get a government that loses its grip on reality. (We have a press).

          Ignore groups of like-thinking individuals, and you get balkanization (we have the Senate, though it used to function better when economic interest varied more by state than by profession).

          Ignore money, and you get essentially bribery undermining every part of the government.

          We have nothing to recognize money.

          Thus, money is undermining our government.

          The solution, perhaps, is to have a 3rd house of Congress, one in which the seats are auctioned off, one per year for a full year, to be filled by a citizen of the choice of the winner, and which has its own power of veto.

          But until you have something like that, yes, money is going to undermine your government.
      • Re:Highlights (Score:4, Informative)

        by turgid (580780) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:06AM (#8519771) Journal
        are MEPs even elected?

        Yes, they are, however in the UK, we as a nation are so insular and xenophobic, the turn-out at the elections for MEPs is routinely below 20%. I think it was about 13% last time IIRC. It's pathetic. People think that because it's "Europe" it doesn't affect them. At least my radical vote counts more because there are fewer total votes :-)

        • Re:Highlights (Score:4, Insightful)

          by kahei (466208) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:19AM (#8519827) Homepage

          It's not because you're insular (which you are) or xenophobic (which you aren't) -- it's because most UK cits realize that what they think and do matters not at all to European politicians.

          In other words, they (the apathetic sheep) have a reasonable and correct worldview whereas you are kind of cute but sad, like a little mouse that says it will protect its parent mice from the evil cat.

          Now hush up and give us all your fishing rights -- oh, you already have.
          • Re:Highlights (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Aceticon (140883) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @10:32AM (#8520675)
            Think of it the other way around:

            Imagine that the turn-out for the next European Parliament elections was 10%
            And you were one of the ones did vote

            Did you notice that your vote would count for you plus 9 of the people that didn't vote?

            Maybe checking out which of UK's EU parliament members voted for this law and which voted against ... and casting your vote accordingly would be worth it!??
          • Re:Highlights (Score:3, Interesting)

            by kisak (524062)
            Sounds like you are the apathetic sheep believing what the british tabloids tell you to believe.
    • Re:Highlights (Score:5, Informative)

      by absolut_kurant (152888) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:54AM (#8519723)
      ["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 limited them to organised counterfeiters and not people downloading music at home."]

      This is NOT TRUE, just a spin! Only 3 parts of the directive are limited to "commercial scale", i.e. freezing of bank accounts, getting bank information and trying to get background information on the copying organization. So the stormtroopers can still your house.
  • Pop (Score:4, Funny)

    by BrookHarty (9119) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:36AM (#8519651) Homepage Journal
    Music firms might come knocking if you are swapping pop

    Guess I won't be busted for sharing my Australian didgeridoo, german barbershop quartet or christian gangster rap collection.
    • Music firms might come knocking if you are swapping pop

      But you might ask what they have to do with the soft drinks industry.


  • by tomknight (190939) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:40AM (#8519662) Homepage Journal
    Note that we're learning from the Americans in more ways than one....

    "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."


  • by Vega043 (729614) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `eokegiliehed'> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:41AM (#8519666)
    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.
    Nice to see that you can pass pas EU legislation by marrying the right person.
  • by mocm (141920) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:41AM (#8519668) Homepage
    which gives the member states a framework for new laws that have to be put into legislation within a certain time frame (2 years). So there is still hope that individual states will have less stringent laws than the directive calls for. Although there may also be states that will have far more stringent laws.
  • by Channard (693317) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:42AM (#8519673) Journal
    .. this was my idea! You stole it from me! Right - prepare to be living on whatever you've got in the office canteen - I'm suing and freezing your account. Now.. what's the dialling code for Brussels?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:43AM (#8519680)
    So exactly *why* are private parties given these rights? Shouldn't they be reserved for the "authorities" after a claim has been acertained as legitimate? What would this mean for a company like SCO that seems to have no real evidence for a claim of IP violation? Could they just use this bill against anyone they *claim* violated IP?
  • by kcbrown (7426) <> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:44AM (#8519684)
    Looks to me like the EU (and, by extension, European countries) is 0wz0r3d by big corporations just like the U.S.

    Looks to me like there's no escaping the soul-crushing, draconian corporate police state that's almost (if not already) here in everything but name.

    Isn't there any country out there with the balls to refuse to give in to shit like this that isn't already a police state of some kind??


    • I think China does... but then, they don't exactly let corporations exist for the most part.

      Of course, I'd probably settle for this daconian coporate environment where at least I get to choose which fast food joint I'm going to spend all my money at.
    • by bhima (46039) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [avadnaP.amihB]> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:01AM (#8519746) Journal
      The pendulum must swing quite a ways before it swings back. I expect the back lash to quite amusing, if the law is enacted, or enforced, or if anyone is actually prosecuted with it.

      Still though, I wouldn't want to be the example or the trial case...

    • by kfg (145172) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:03AM (#8519756)
      Traditionally that country would have been America. Go figure.

      However, as long ago as 1870, when Jules Verne wrote 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, he had Captain Nemo note that the only place left free in the world was 30 feet under the surface of the sea, as even the sea's surface was no longer safe from police states.

      Nowadays, of course, all the police states have hunter submarines.

    • by KjetilK (186133)
      Hm, I'm from Norway, and while I feel relatively free at the moment, have gotten a bit more faith in the legal system, and feel that I have some influence on the local government, I still see the situation deroriating rapidly. Even if Norway is not a member of the EU, we will most likely have to make this a law anyway, so much for democracy...

      Actually, I'm looking towards South America, specifically Brazil.

      Brazil seems to be improving rapidly, still, Lula seems to keep his eyes open and doesn't take in

    • RTFA, lemming.

      What the directive says is _not_ that some company's private stormtroopers can bash your door in, whenever they see fit.

      It basically says that, given reasonable suspicion that you're running a wholesale counterfeiting opperation, the company can call upon the authorities (i.e., police, courts, government agencies) to take action. And those authorities can take whatever steps are necessary to prevent you from destroying the _evidence_. Including, yes, taking that evidence into custody.

      It als
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:46AM (#8519692)
    From the article:

    "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."

    Time to get some obscure patents or copyrighted material, let it find its way into commercial and government use, and then use the law to raid the business and government offices and seize their assets.
  • *Companies*!?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sonamchauhan (587356) <> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:48AM (#8519699) Journal
    The article states:
    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.

    Is this correct? Are companies going to be granted powers that had been restricted to law-enforcement (for good reasons) up until now?

    Will Kodak be able to raid Sony [] to protect it's intellectual property?

    There should be one penalty for both the little guy and the big guy - the law should not be a respecter of persons.
    • Re:*Companies*!?! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sumocide (114549) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:23AM (#8519848)
      Let me quote from the directive [], Article 8:

      1. Member States shall ensure that [..] the competent judicial authorities may [..] order prompt and effective provisional measures to preserve relevant evidence in regard to the alleged infringement [..]

      That's all. Nowhere is mentioned who shall take the measures. But since raids by companies would be unconstitutional in all member states the 'raid by companies' bit was pulled out of the editor's ass.

      • Re:*Companies*!?! (Score:3, Informative)

        by JPMH (100614)
        The only European countries which currently provide for such orders are the UK, Ireland and France.

        In these countries the orders are indeed granted directly to the plaintiffs, in secret, without the defendants' case being put, authorising the plaintiffs themselves to go ahead.

        Here's what a standard thousand-page textbook on UK Intellectual Property law has to say about such measures, called "Anton Piller" orders (Cornish & Llewellyn, 5e, 2003: section 2-43, page 82):

        As a measure of "privatisatio

    • Wow man I am glad that is law is not in the U.S. There is so much room for abuse.

      I am going to use AOL as an example. Just because I think it is one of the easiest situations.

      Scan all your IM Messages and see who is using IM on an operating system that doesn't support their IM.
      This could be like someone writing "Yea right now I am running OpenBSD it is cool"

      Oh Oh someone is using something that may be using their IP but not threw them.

      Lets Freeze their bank and raid their house. Force them to get a wi
      • Re:*Companies*!?! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by KDan (90353)
        Not likely. AOL is a public company that cares (or should care) about its image. They have a strong IM product, but hardly a monopoly, given the alternatives (MSN, Jabber, Yahoo... and even ICQ, still). If they sue people who make AIM clones, Joe Blow isn't going to care. If they start suing users they'll just scare everyone off within a year or two and lose AIM as a (not purely AOL-bound) product.

        Remember AIM is a network which people use to talk. Consider that if you lose one person in the network becau
  • by e6003 (552415) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:49AM (#8519705) Homepage
    It's called the European Union Copyright Directive [] and it was enacted into the national law of many member states last year. Imagine the fun if the worst provisions of this Directive get adopted into national law (they may not necessarily be so enacted []) and the EU caves in over software patents [] - could a programmer's bank account be frozen and his house be raided at midnight for unkonwingly infringing a trivial and obvious patent? As has been remarked round these parts, George Orwell was right but out by 20 years...
  • I have not read the full suggestion yet, but all these laws that allows a company to take police actions makes me begin wondering... What would happen if I created a recording company, published a single song and began raiding political offices and homes as we have "Proof" of them sharing our intellectual property? And raiding ISP to take their servers? This seems to me like they are writing away an important part of the legal security and this is something to be very very affraid of when it begins happen
  • by Cooper_007 (688308) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:02AM (#8519749)
    I'm moving to America!

    Oh wait...

    I don't need a pass to pass this pass!
    - Groo The Wanderer -

  • by OldManAndTheC++ (723450) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:03AM (#8519755)

    Lucky for me I live in that bastion of individual freedom: the U.S. of A.!

    Hang on, someone is knocking at the door...

  • More info (Score:5, Insightful)

    by l0wland (463243) <l0wland@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:03AM (#8519760) Journal
    Here []

    I wonder if local authorities will allow non-official parties to enter your house without official government permission. The EU can decide this, but local authorities can still overrule it, AFAIK. But, IANAL.

  • So, a company holding the copyright on a movie/mp3 could raid the home of an end user if he illegaly downloads movies through some sort of P2P system for example? And confiscate his computer? Sounds nasty, I'm sure some companies in the USA would love to be able to do so as well ;-)
  • by Moderation abuser (184013) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:03AM (#8519762)
    Have been able to do it for hundreds of years. Their powers are greater than those of the Police. Nothing like the threat of a bit of tax evasion or smuggling to have the government breaking down your doors freezing your bank accounts and seizing your assets.

    The reason I mentioned customs is that they handle fakes, counterfeiting etc here.

  • by RonnyJ (651856) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:14AM (#8519814)
    One important detail that seems to have been missed out of the summary... (from the linked BBC article)

    "But a late amendment limited them to organised counterfeiters and not people downloading music at home."
    • by FreeUser (11483) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:35AM (#8519893)
      "But a late amendment limited them to organised counterfeiters and not people downloading music at home."

      One important detail got left out of your post.

      This applies ONLY to freezing bank accounts and doing background checks.

      They CAN still break down your door for suspected copyright infringement at the personal level. This includes trading cassette tapes, as college students have been doing for thirty years.

      I predicted that, in the day of the Internet and digital media, either the copyright and patent regimes would have to weakened if not scrapped, or draconian laws that would make the former Soviet Union look liberal would have to be enacted.

      Looks like we've chosen the stalinist route: Communism^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Capitalism over Freedom.

      Nice going Europe. Scratch another place to move to ... which brings up the ultimate goal of these disgusting cartels. If and when they get their way, there will be no place for us to move to. We'll all be equally beneath their heel.
  • Being an European myself, I'm not surprised. Europe as such had always less serious approach to habeas corpus than America. In many European countries, police needs no warrant to search & seize private property. Police is not obliged to read the arrested person "his Miranda". When you are arrested in Europe and you'll say "hey! I have a right to make a phone call", the policeman is quite likely to say "no, you don't - you're watching too much American flicks". And he might be right. Of course, one can
    • I'd just like to point out to some degree that in general Germany's had a pretty good (or bad depending on which way you look at it) record for restricting the strength of ultra-right, and ultra-left.

      First of all, look at the whole Scientology fiasco. They're all mad at Germany for not recognizing it as an acceptable religion, then they forget that the Germans were under the tyranny of an ultra-right facist government that just happened to catch the eye of the public long enough to get power.

      They're gene
    • by Elektroschock (659467) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:34AM (#8519889)
      Policemen act according to the legal standards. Your article is a flamebait.

      "The people who once sent other people to gulag and confiscated their "bourgeois property" will be the lawmakers in Strasbourg and Brussels. Along with the people who sent other people to "gaskammers" and confiscated their "Jewish property"."

      Sounds a little bit paranoid. These are crimes of the past and the persons who did it are dead. Crimes against humanity in the past were a good lesson to change the system. Legal standards in Europe are known to be high.

      However, the executive branch does not make the laws. It's the lack of lobbying and citizen's representation on the EU level.

      Support organisations who are in the debate by donations, give them attantion, forward their news. It is a a power case. the Music industry lost a lot of money, so they invested into lobbying. Don't hate the lobby, be the lobby.
      • These [the Holocaust] are crimes of the past and the persons who did it are dead (...) However, the executive branch does not make the laws.

        But the executive branch often initiates the laws and passes the proposed bills to the parliament. Just check the case of one Hans Globke [], the guy who wrote the Nuremberg Laws in 1935 - these laws were actually the legal framework of the Holocaust. They allowed to gather Jewish citizens in ghettos and subsequently eliminate them, all according to the law (the Nurembe
  • Not a law (Score:5, Informative)

    by roalt (534265) < . c om> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:42AM (#8519920) Homepage Journal
    Although the story title suggests otherwise, the thing passed is a directive and not a law: Member states are encouraged to implement this guideline, and they can do this with modifications, according to This (Dutch) article [].

    This same article says that no action may be taken against consumers who act in "good faith" and download music. Of course, we must see how this works out...

    Making legislation to protect copyright rights is okay for me, making legislation to limit the use of legally licensed (equals bought) copyrighted material is what's really wrong.

  • by chrestomanci (558400) * < minus painter> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @09:05AM (#8520018)

    The Register, have reproduced a letter to them [] from Adrian McMenamin, the Press Officer of the European Parliamentary Labor Party.

    The letter contains the the particularly juicy quote:

    I see the development of OSS being halted - I should know, I have written several Linux kernel modules. Claims that the DMCA is coming to Europe are ridiculous.

    A grep for his name in the 2.6.3 linux source tree does not return anything, so I suspect he may be lying about his kernel modules, just like he is lying about DMCA in Europe. (The EUCD, which is like the DMCA, but stricter in some areas, was ratified in the UK a few months ago).

    Does anyone know anything about Adrian McMenamin?. Has he in fact made any useful contribution to OSS?

  • Yikes! (Score:3, Funny)

    by cherokee158 (701472) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @09:16AM (#8520102)
    Looks like Lucasarts will be able to reuse those old stormtrooper uniforms, after all...
  • by Aceticon (140883) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @09:30AM (#8520229)
    July 10 i believe

    If you're an european citizen now's the time to make your vote count.

    Check the FFII site for the list of members of parliament that voted for and against the amendement 59, then cast your vote accordingly.

    (I just checked that my personal favorites voted for amendement 59. I didn't vote last time around, but this time they've get my vote!!!)
  • by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @09:34AM (#8520258)
    Too bad though, most EU civilians now are forbidden to own weapons.

    When cops enter your home by "dynamic entry", that's one thing, but when CIVILIANS (which is what those private raiding parties are over there) break into your home by force, then they should be SHOT DEAD ON THE SPOT.

    Maybe they can get some sharp sticks and skewer a few of them. When some of them get killed pulling these bullshit raids they'll back off..

    Note to those thinging of this here: This is the USA, we are ARMED. Don't try it. You've been warned.

  • WTO involvement (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @09:51AM (#8520380) Homepage Journal
    Wont this now migrate across the pond to the US due to the WTO's 'least common denominator' way of looking at inter-country commerce laws?
  • by lonesome phreak (142354) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @10:00AM (#8520446) Journal
    So, if the corp can come in your home, can they hire someone else to go do it for them? Like...a team of Shadowrunners? Yeah, it may be just a game, but there is a reason the genre is called "futureshock". I can see a corp hiring some ex-Gulf vets from Iraq to head up part of their "IP aquisition" team.

    If I was in europe, and a corp stormed my house, I wonder if I could shot them. It's not like their police. In the US, the BSA usually comes with Federal Marshalls.

    This is bad bad stuff. Like I told my 20 year old stripper girlfriend: "Every time I'm around you I feel I need to get my leather trench lined...with a nice tight kevlar weave."
  • by V_M_Smith (186361) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @10:44AM (#8520778)
    This just sounds like the EU formalizing the common-law parctice of the Anton Piller order [], which is basically a civil (as opposed to criminal) search warrant. In general, Anton Piller orders are very difficult to get and I imagine these would be too.
  • Not quite right... (Score:4, Informative)

    by mattbroersma (760920) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @12:19PM (#8521665)
    There are a few inaccuracies floating around here.

    1) But late amendments added to the law limited who intellectual property owners could take action against and what penalties they could apply. The amendments the parliament refers to are actually a compromise reached between parliament and the council of ministers (representatives of EU national governments) earlier in the process. The amendment says, in the preamble (not the main body of the text) that some (not all) of the harshest sanctions, such as freezing bank accounts, should only apply to 'commercial' violations. However, this is very broadly defined as a violation that gives someone an 'economic advantage', which could be applied to, say, someone who downloads a song off the Internet for free. For more information see this story [].

    2) This legislation, which originally had DMCA-like provisions The provisions banning circumventions of copy-protection technology were passed in the EU Copyright Directive of 2001, and according to a recent study, EU member nations are implementing these sanctions in full, without including protections to researchers and business competition, which they are allowed to do. See this story [].

    3) with companies able to raid, confiscate and freeze the bank accounts of those accused of copyright infringement This is accurate: these surprise raids are known as Anton Pillar orders, and in civil cases, they allow companies themselves to carry out the raids, hopefully overseen by their solicitors to make sure they keep within the rules of the order. More information on these orders here []. In criminal cases, which are the only kind in which most countries allow Anton Pillar orders, the raids are carried out by police. In the UK the raids are allowed in civil IP cases, but only for large-scale piracy or counterfeiting. The new IP directive could make these raids available for any civil IP case. The recent raids on Sharman Networks [] and others in Australia were authorised by Anton Pillar orders.

    It is true that the directive must still be interpreted by member states and implemented in their national laws, and this could represent an opportunity for the directive's harsher aspects to be limited. But it will now be a matter of making this happen in 25 different member countries (post-enlargement of EU) rather than on a Europe-wide level. Additionally, the experience of implementation of the EUCD (see above) suggests that member states won't automatically limit bizarre and repressive directives, no matter how controversial they are.

    This is partly because, when they're debating laws like this at a national level, they tend to talk to the parties directly affected -- in this case, people like the BSA and the IFPI (Euro-RIAA); ordinary citizens have to work harder to be included in the process.

    Matt Broersma, ZDNet UK

  • by maxpublic (450413) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @02:38PM (#8523295) Homepage
    ...if this law were passed in America? Corporate troopers breaking down the doors, and if you resist they can just shoot your ass. Speak ill of any corporation and all of a sudden 'evidence' will be manufactured, er, provided to 'competent law enforcement agencies' that you're a copyright evil-doer.

    Perhaps you'll eventually be exonerated - that is, if said 'evidence' doesn't mysteriously appear on your computer *AFTER* it's seized and hauled off to corporate headquarters - but you'll have to wait years to get back your property, your money, and recover what's left of your life.

    If shit like this comes anywhere close to passing in the U.S. I'm moving to Canada.

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:02PM (#8526324)
    Well time to watch karama go bye-bye.

    In December of 2002 I got to give a presentation over IP rights and the EU to members of the German Parliment and other officials from several soon to be EU members' Embassies as well as officials from the United States and the UK. *now for the karama hit* I was arguing that while technology allows easier infringement, people's copyrights, patents, etc. need to be respected and that they key wasn't in new laws, but enforcement of existing laws.

    At that time the EUCD was "Supposed" to be in effect by the 23rd of December 2002, if I remember correctly. For some reason people think of the Internet as something "new" that requires "new" laws for a "new" time, and that is the false primise that I brought up in my 30 minute presentation, well I hope...German is a second language to me and far from perfect, however the professor advising said I did fine.

    The paper/site whatever it is brings up the very point of what the Internet is: a method of transmission of data. The internet itself is designed to route data packets and that's about it. (that's my summation of their main point anyway...RTFA make sure I'm not smoking anything)

    Right now I am doing a study for the local chamber of commerce and downtown development agency about collecting sales tax for internet transactions at least in the United States and basically my arguement is this: A company that uses an online catalog (shopping cart) to facilitate sales of goods that are shipped between state lines is not any different that an existing mail order/catalog business. The only difference is that the paper printed catalog has been replaced by the innovation of an online shopping cart. There is no need for "new" laws, simply enforcing existing laws that govern this industry.

    Once you explain it in those terms, people begin to understand that business on the internet is no different than brick and morter. Don't get me wrong, there are some other pressing international issues that are still being worked out like the old Yahoo! Vs. France (9th Circus of Appeals case).

    Copyright is really is no different. All that needed to be said in the DMCA and the EUCD or now EUIPsomethingsomething was: "The internet, or anyother electronic transmission method is still subject to the laws of international copyright".

    Geesh, maybe after my masters degree, I should start some foundation that attempts to advise people, hold seminars, charge $500 a head and make a lot of money.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A giant panda bear is really a member of the racoon family.