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Friday, 26 September 2003


An article in today’s New York Times draws attention to the scale of music piracy occurring outside the USA. Asia (particularly China) is identified as a hotspot, but so is Europe, even though downloading is not on the same scale as in the US because fewer people in Europe have internet access. Two “problems” are identified: (1) the weakness of national copyright laws in these areas and (2) the ubiquity of the activity. According to the author:

“In truth, the real impediment to legal action is not public opinion, but Europe's crazy quilt of laws. The European Union passed a uniform copyright protection law similar to that in the United States. Now, it is up for ratification in each member state — a process that has bogged down.”[sic]

The IPKat thinks that the author has misunderstood the way Europe works. The “crazy quilt” is the result of a carefully crafted political balance between the Member States of the EU that recognises that each is independent and sovereign. In any event, despite the existence of common basic norms created by treaties, it does not necessarily follow that every other country in the world should follow the lead of the US and its rather heavy-handed approach to combating music piracy.

However, the prize for quote of the week must go to Gerd Gebhardt, chairman of the German Phonographic Industry Association, who complained: "People in their 60's are burning CD's at home…Housewives, who should be cooking, are burning."

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