European Parliament rejects IPR as an internal security risk

By EDRi · May 23, 2012

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Deutsch: [EP lehnt Durchsetzung von Urheberrechten im Rahmen der EU-Sicherheitstrategie ab |]

With a crushing majority of 503 in favour to 55 against and 56
abstentions, the European Parliament yesterday rejected the inclusion of
the protection of intellectual property rights as a key element in the
protection of Europe’s internal security.

In a piece of what the Commission appears to have believed to be a piece
of masterful political syllogism, it explained in its Internal Security
Strategy (adopted at the end of 2010) that dangerous counterfeit goods
are a threat for human health. These counterfeiting offences are
infringements of intellectual property rights (IPR). “Piracy” is also an
infringement of intellectual proprety rights. Consequently, the fight
against “counterfeiting and piracy” must be included in the EU’s
Internal Security Strategy.

This is part of the wider strategy, as seen in ACTA, to treat all IPR as
if it were the same, with dangerous medicines being considered as
important as unauthorised downloading and vice versa. The obvious
problem, as has become obvious in the ACTA, is that treating serious and
trivial infringements as if they were of equal importance will
inevitably result in either the serious infringement being treated as if
it were trivial or vice versa.

The European Parliament, however, far more sensitive now to the
questionable approach of the European Commission to intellectual
property rights as a result of the ACTA discussions, recognised this
crude attempt to push its so far unsuccessful approach to an even higher
level of hysteria. Whatever else one can say about downloading a song
without authorisation, the number of deaths that it is likely to cause
is, we believe, comparatively low.

The final text agreed by the European Parliament on this point was:
“notes, however, that it does not appear fully justified or appropriate
to take action in the field of the enforcement of intellectual property
rights – a matter which is part of a specific in-depth debate – within
the framework of the ISS;”

The adopted Resolution also pointedly describes the broader lack of
evidence for EU security measures, arguing in favour of an EU-wide
analysis of threats “on the basis of a more transparent and robust
methodology for threat assessment and relying on comprehensive
contributions from the Member States.”

European Parliament resolution of 22 May 2012 on the European Union’s Internal Security Strategy ((2010)2308 (INI))

EDRi report on the Commission proposal (1.12.2010)

Communication: The EU Internal Security Strategy in Action: Five steps
towards a more secure Europe (22.11.2010)

You wouldn’t steal a car…

(Contribution by Joe McNamee – EDRi)