German DP Commissioner criticizes draft IPR Enforcement
Peter Schaar, appointed 2 months ago as Germany’s chief Data Protection Commissioner, has severely criticized the draft Directive on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, currently under discussion in the European Parliament and the Council. Interviewed by the online news service Heise, Schaar said the Directive brought along many risks, including deep cuts into the confidentiality of communication and citizen’s privacy rights by giving too many rights of information to the rights holders. The Directive is, according to Schaar, also likely to undermine current initiatives to regulate the use of RFID tags, and he criticizes the possible extension of the field of application from professional copyright pirates to ‘everyone exchanging private copies’, which would be ‘unproportional’.
The European Parliament has meanwhile fixed the agenda for the adaptation of the IPR Enforcement Directive in its plenary. According to the current planning, the Report will be debated on 9 February in Strasbourg and voted on 25 February in Brussels, with the deadline for MEPs to lay down amendments set on 5 February. In the debate, MEPs will however discuss only a fraction of what they will have to vote on two weeks later. There will probably be many last-minute amendments, tabled by the Rapporteur, the French Conservative Janelly Fourtou.
Mme Fourtou is engaged in intense discussions with Shadow Rapporteurs from the other political groups in the Parliament and with the Council in order to reach an agreement on the Directive in the first reading. Parliament and Council are trying to approach their positions in a series of so-called trilogue meetings, also involving the Commission. These discussions will continue after the plenary debate. As the Rapporteur, Mme Fourtou has the right to do summarize the results from these meetings in last-minute amendments, even after the official deadline.
Heise article on Schaar’s criticism (28.01.2004 in German)
EP Legislative Observatory on the Fourtou report
(Contribution by Andreas Dietl, EDRI EU affairs director)