back to article EU ministers want new life for IP enforcement

European Union minsters have told EU governing bodies to revive plans to create a pan-EU law criminalising intellectual property infringement, and to make more use of a new body to cooperate on the enforcement of intellectual property rights. They have also asked the European Commission to create new laws if cooperation does …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Seems reasonable

    Everyone's rights are enforced already except for intellectual property, so why not? Note this is about mostly to do with industrial patents (and trademarks), not copyright.

    I expect the Freetards and who think ripping people off is OK will soon be whining like spoilt children they are.

    1. JohnG Silver badge

      Wait and see

      It would be nice to think that it will protect everyone's IP rights but it might just give them to a bunch of sneaky lawyers instead. All your ideas are belong to US(A).

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Except they aren't...

      "Everyone's rights are enforced already except for intellectual property, so why not?"

      You mean, apart from our right to take photographs Oh, and the right to get paid minimum wage for an internship (see BBC News)? And so on.

      In fact, I would go as far as to say that almost *no-one's* rights are enforced by the government except for business's. I mean, copyright last for twenty or so years, right, like it used to? What do you mean, it is continually extended, encroaching on the public's rights, every time business asks?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Freeloading IP holders

      "Everyone's rights are enforced already except for intellectual property, so why not? Note this is about mostly to do with industrial patents (and trademarks), not copyright."

      If a trademark is worth $20 a unit only if we spend $50 on police costs to enforce the trademark, then it is a $30 burden on the European economy. That $30 has to be borne by all other industries. It makes them less competitive.

      Likewise an industrial patent, currently Apple has a patent on Broadcast-Listeners granted in 2002, I am working on code built on Broadcast-listeners from 1998, so the quality of patents seems to be questionable currently. There must be a serious damage done by badly issued patents.

      If the damage done by a badly issued patent is $30 per unit, and we spent $50 a unit enforcing it, then the burden to EU is $80 a unit. Which is a catastrophe.

      How can the patent be worth so much that WE need to spend TAX money protecting yet, yet worth so little that the holder doesn't find it worth protecting themselves?

      So really freeloading IP rights holders should spend some of this supposed 'value' in their IP rights protecting them. All their costs are recoverable, so if they're right, they will obtain their costs anyway.

    4. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

      Seems UNreasonable

      "Everyone's rights are enforced already except for intellectual property, so why not?"

      You've got copyright protection, trademark protection, and patents, with enforcement behind all of them. I doubt any EU country will condone propping up a stand and selling bootleg DVDs or CDs, I know there've been software bootlegging rings arrested. I know what you REALLY want is even MORE enforcement, but don't go around pretending there's none at all.

      "Note this is about mostly to do with industrial patents (and trademarks), not copyright."

      True, but mostly doesn't matter, very nasty bits of copyright legislation were wedged in there, that's what made it be tabled to begin with; people have repeatedly voted down this kind of junk.

      "I expect the Freetards and who think ripping people off is OK will soon be whining like spoilt children they are."

      The kind of rules these jokers were going for are strongly disagreed with by many people and by may countries in general. Major problems with the types of laws pushed in there (DMCA-style clauses, 3-strikes, etc...) are

      1) Objections to anticircumvention clauses -- i.e. many countries respect fair use, and respect the property owner's right to break any rights restriction system that interferes with their full use rights (i.e. make a backup, use the file on whatever computer they wish, etc.) You've already so much as said this is so I can pirate stuff. You know as well as I do that it's not.

      2) Objections to 3-strikes stuff... The extreme costs of expecting every ISP to filter, and the slippery slope this provides -- the ISP is spying on their own customers at that point. These rules are badly structured too, I was hassled by my own ISP until I cancelled for downloading stuff when they finally sent paperwork to the RIGHT address instead of just shutting my cable modem off over and over, I found besides it not being anything I downloaded the IP address was also one I had never had -- they had and still have a scrambled account<->IP database. There was not a provision for an appeals process, it was assumed I did it. I said "forget it, here's my cable modem I'm cancelling service".

      3) In some countries internet is also viewed as a human right, and do think about it --- would anyone advocate people that commit copyright infringement should have their electricity cut off? That would stop infringement too. Of course not, electricity is a basic service; but internet service can be just as necessary for a normal life as power or phone service is.

      This is not a matter of "freetards" wanting stuff for free. These laws are deeply flawed.


      One thing I wonder, I don't know how EU government really works. Is them suggesting the European Comission look at this stuff and showing they don't want it yet again, is this binding? Is it truly a suggestion, or is it a "suggestion" they can't refuse?

  2. DJV Silver badge


    I see no reference to software, which is probably a good thing. On the other hand I see no references specifically saying that software is exlcuded, which is definitely a bad thing. I for one do not want to see the madness of court cases over stupid/obvious software ip/patents on this side of the pond that are currently all the rage in the US.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hannover fair?

    That police seizure at the Hannover fair, the Chinese eBook maker selling an Andoid resistive $95 touch screen tablet.

    The stories appears to be that a lawyer for Apple arrived, demanded $10k in claimed IP violations, they demanded details of the infringement, and later the lawyer arrived with the police and shut down the stand.

    It seems to be protectionism masquerading as IP protection.

  4. A J Stiles

    Better idea

    If we're going to have new Pan-European laws, why not go a stage further?

    Investigate whether awarding temporary monopolies to innovators on the condition that they eventually share their discoveries with Society At Large is still the best way to encourage people to share their ideas. And if it isn't, then maybe copyrights and patents need to be replaced with something else altogether.

    And if that something else doesn't make billionaires richer, it's just tough titty.

    1. criscros
      Thumb Up


      That's precisely what needs to be done. Problem is, politicians are sold out to said billionaires so we'll be stuck with yet more patent and copyright protection laws... until the system blows up on its own, that is.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Offshore IP profits, Onshore enforcement costs

    I'm trying to determine if the cost of criminal enforcement of IP rights is compensated by the extra taxes from these IP rights holders.

    See, if they sell more as a result, and the gain is sufficient that taxes benefit everyone more than the inconvenience of random searches and intrusive IP rights, then you could argue there is a net gain. Even if it costs more to the economy.

    So I try to investigate how much extra tax comes in, and I find that the IP companies, because their 'rights' are portable, simply license from offshore locations and don't pay much tax, if any, on their license rights.

    It looks like the IP right is simply used to extract profit from the EU and ship it to an offshore license body in the Caribbean islands. The offshore company simply licenses the right at a huge cost and doing so reduces the tax due in the EU. So bananas are sold as a very expensive brand name with a very cheap banana, moving the profits out of the EU.

    It follows that if you put a higher burden on the taxpayer to enforce these rights, these 'rights' will be worth more and they'll be able to charge a higher notional value to the EU company from the Caribbean one and therefore reduce the tax burden even further.

    It doesn't seem to make financial sense, indeed it seems to be necessary for us to reduce the burden of IP rights enforcement and shift it to the company itself.

    If he company needs to spend Euro 10 million enforcing an IP right in Europe then, it needs to have 10m Euro profit to do that, and so needs to shift more of its profit into the EU.

    So to be worth the gain, we need to reduce the protection.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Crackdown on Hollywood accounting

      It looks like they need to crack down on Hollywood accounting practices too. Forest Gump made a loss, which was surprising given it was a huge success!

      It looks like Hollywood accountants structure rights deals to ensure the sale doesn't make a profit, then don't pay taxes and royalties as a result:

      So really they claim to make a loss on every DVD sold, yet we're supposed to expend millions protecting that DVD for ZERO TAX in return.

      This is a no win situation, no amount of enforcement can turn that into a profit for us.

      They really need to get a clear idea of the costs of European IP infringement vs the benefit of spending money on it.

      If the money is better spent on Universities, and Schools and factories making things, then it should be spent there. You can hypothesize how the EU will become a zone of strong IP rights, but if the IP rights are in the EU and the money is in a Belize Holding company what use is that to the average European!?

  6. alain williams Silver badge

    But copyright is too long

    This stops reuse that is often used to generate things in the first place, this lecture by Laurence Lesstig is worth listening to:

    1. Steve Roper

      I agree with you, but...

      Copyright is way too long these days, thanks to Disney and its ilk. But it doesn't stop re-use; it just stops re-use by plebs like you and me. See - let's say Universal Studios wanted to make a movie about Darth Vader vs. the Daleks. They pay out the $whatever million to Lucasfilm for the right to use Darth Vader, $more million to the Terry Nation Estate for the Daleks, and then go ahead and make their movie. You and I, on the other hand, will never be able to make anything featuring either Darth Vader or Daleks because a) we can't afford the insane licence fees the studios would charge for such a thing and b) the copypigs will just keep on extending copyright until the heat death of the universe.

      Which, boiled down, simply means that modern copyright is *nothing* to do with protecting creators and *everything* to do with keeping control of popular culture in the hands of the upper crust.

  7. Semihere

    Best way to fight this...?

    Maybe it's time to start patenting "methods to enforce legislation against Intellectual Property infringement". THEN see them pass these laws - it'd be an infringement of your IP and thus create a legal paradox!

    1. Goat Jam

      Nice plan

      with only one tiny flaw:

      Unless you are a uber-rich billionare, they will simply ignore your patent and continue on as usual while correctly assuming that you don't have the money to challenge them in court.

      If OTOH, you are a uber-rich billionaire then you are already part of their club and would be too busy screwing over joe sixpack to have any interest in screwing over Lord Looter and Sir Scumbag with whom you are likely to drink brandy with on thursday evenings down at The Club.

      Beer, because the likes of us can't afford the type of brandy that they serve down at the club

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