Richard Budworth, a London-based barrister of 11 Old Square and recently-appointed Deputy Editor of the Lawtext series the Information Technology Law Reports, has provided the IPKat with the following guest blog:

The draft Directive on Intellectual Property Enforcement, which will be voted on next Tuesday, proposes tough sanctions against copyright infringers, particularly criminal gangs, who pirate DVDs or unlicensed software. This is admirable but there is concern that the almighty wrath of this ruthless directive will descend on the teenager innocently swapping her Britney ringtones (see The Times, Technobabble, 2 March 2004). Her home will be raided, searched, and assets frozen. This will be the norm across Europe wherever 'piracy' is alleged.

Article 2 (1) however limits the infringement to that which is carried out for 'commercial purposes or causes significant harm to the right holder'. Article 3 refers to an obligation on Member States to provide for 'proportionate measures and procedures' for enforcing IP rights. Under Article 4 the penalties must also be proportionate. Article 8 allows for pre-trial descriptive or physical seizure only if there is a demonstrable risk that the evidence may be destroyed.

These might be of some comfort to the teenage file-swapper.

Britney ringtones here but no longer here
Frozen assets here, here and here

FEAR MISPLACED FEAR MISPLACED Reviewed by Jeremy and Ilanah on Friday, March 05, 2004 Rating: 5

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