Hem > Piratfrågor > IP Observatory: Pirate Party standpoint work

IP Observatory: Pirate Party standpoint work

As reported earlier by Christian Engström there are EU plans ahead for an IP Observatory in the EU. The measure, advocated by Charles McCreevy (also Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services), is a way to get to terms with IPR infringements and maintenance through extra-legal means. In practise, a way to enhance enforcement without resorting to introducing new legislation.

As with many EU initiatives, the measure is slightly misguided and the solutions it proposes to the perceived problems are as well. For instance, consumers are degraded to passive observers, to be lectured and kept in check by benevolent industry representatives and legislators. As far as I can see, this is contrary to the Union’s own ambitions for consumers, although I must admit that the Union’s confidence in consumer ability to take an active part in consumer interests is over-all a bit bleak.

Another weak (upsetting?) point is the promotion of stakeholder dialogues. We also saw references to stakeholder dialogues in the Telecoms package directive 2002/22/EC art 33, in which the ”dialogue” consisted of ISPs and record labels agreeing to take measures against copyright infringements. In general, I feel adverse to private entities mingling to sort out effects or punishment from crimes outside of the judiciary system. Comparably, when dialogues have been created between police authorities and ISPs to decrease occurrences of child pornography, most observers have agreed users can readily avoid the partnership while user confidence in both the police and the ISPs decreases. In the copyright infringement debate, this suggests that record labels will get even more unpopular, while ISPs will share their downfall. I am actually looking for additional material on this: does anyone know if there are other sectors where the state has mingled in consumer-business interaction to the detriment of consumer confidence in that business sector?

After getting help from a commentator to my last post, I have had the opportunity to further map small and medium-sized enterprises’ interaction with intellectual property rights. Based on the Technopolis report and a study on IPRs and SMEs in ASEAN nations I can, unsurprisingly, conclude that SMEs probably need other means of support from the EU than information on IPRs. IPRs, also unsurprisingly, further seem to be integrated in SME strategies mostly as business strategies, rather than a way to protect innovation, and as the Technopolis report suggests SMEs typically innovate too fast for IPRs to be a comfortable protection. SMEs use innovation to stay competitive, not patents ;)

I am trying to work out a pirate point of view on the suggestion of an IP Observatory. The groundwork can be found here, even if much of the detailed analysis presented above is lacking on the wiki page. A parallel project and concern is pharmaceutical patents and competition and the implementation of art 290 TEU. I’ve recently gotten around to start my project to map EU bilateral relations with other ACTA negotiation partners, but yes, did not reach very far (working on Morocco now).

  1. december 15, 2009 kl. 16:28

    I still find it amazing that they continually argue their points using drugs, food, car parts and so forth when (from what I understand) most of their measures are targeted at solely intangible (digital) goods.

    Really, what does the internet have to do with shipping fake meds? Sure I suppose it could be used for communication but it’d be far easier and more logical to target the shipments of the claimed fake meds.

  2. teirdez
    december 15, 2009 kl. 16:44

    @William: They are using border policies to target shipments of ”fake meds” and other ”fake goods”. In fact, it’s one of the policy areas where I’d like to criticize the Union, because I believe their border policies are so strict that they’re detrimental to trade and innovation. However, I have still not had the time to locate proper research on this topic, so if you want to help that would be much appreciated :)

  3. december 15, 2009 kl. 23:46


  4. december 16, 2009 kl. 14:03

    The merging of law enforcement and rightholders is a persistent figure of law in the Commission’s thinking. It was also clearly expressed in IPRED2, the ”joint investigation teams” article. Prof. Hilty criticised it accordingly: ”23. The privatisation of criminal prosecution in favour of individual stakeholders’ interests implied therein should be rejected for reasons of general legal policy. In democratic societies bound by the rule of law, the state is endowed with a legal monopoly over the use of force. Private parties are not entitled to avail themselves of criminal prosecution measures in order to combat violations of the law committed by fellow citizens. Instead, each individual only has the right to claim protection by the state, if necessary to be ensured by means of criminal law. The clearly defined rules
    of criminal procedure are only binding upon the criminal prosecution authorities. And even if criminal procedural law were equally applicable to all members of joint investigation teams, democratically legitimised control would be lacking, as proprietors of IP rights do not hold a public office and are therefore not bound by internal directions issued by the prosecuting authority. The obligation of Member States to delegate functions within the conduct of criminal investigations to private parties in such a diffuse manner is therefore incompatible with the fundamental structure of a democratic society.”

  5. teirdez
    december 16, 2009 kl. 17:42

    @Erik: the question is how transferrable that critique is to stuff in… General. Like the Observatory for instance.

    I suppose we could make a Point Of View that’s based on general badness of private-private partnerships in combatting crimes? And exemplify different situations in which the ideas have either functioned poorly or been heavily criticized.

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