European IP policy is crippling the European digital economy

By EDRi · June 1, 2011

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Deutsch: [Europäische Politk zu geistigem Eigentum lähmt digitale Wirtschaft |]

European policy makers are strangling the digital economy, hurting consumers
and putting Europeans’ fundamental rights at risk, according to a report
into the failures of IP policy making in Europe, published by EDRi on
24.05.2011. The report sets out how the EU has been making policy “blind”,
building its strategies on faith not fact and ignoring objective, robust

The report sets out a series of proposals that would add up to a radical
change of direction for EU IP policy. Following them would see Europe
maximise the value that society can get from works covered by intellectual
property at the same time as sustaining flourishing creative industries. The
result would be a boost to the EU economy, an improved environment for
creators, innovators and consumers, and a safeguarding of fundamental rights
of European citizens.

The report recommends that the EU:
– Harmonise exceptions to copyright to create legal certainty across the
EU about the permitted uses of works covered by IP;
– Establishes pan-European licensing arrangements as a matter of priority,
and tie future enforcement policy to the successful development of such
– Abandons repressive enforcement measures that would materially damage
people’s fundamental rights;
– Establishes a moratorium on the exporting of repressive IP enforcement
to third countries;
– Makes a firm commitment to robust, objective evidence and
re-evaluation of policy on the basis of it.

IPRs play an important role incentivising and rewarding creativity and
innovation. But the report argues that these benefits are now being
outweighed by IPRs’ damaging effects on the creation and dissemination of
culture and technological innovation, and on fundamental rights such as
privacy and freedom of expression.

EDRi advocacy coordinator Joe McNamee said: “Policy makers face a choice.
They can enable a radical expansion of society’s ability to access the
world’s trove of information, culture and knowledge. Or they can
unnecessarily prevent a wide range of valuable activities from taking place
and, for no sound reason, pursue repressive enforcement measures that
cripple the democratising potential of new technology. Currently the EU is
choosing the latter. This report argues forcefully for a change of track to
embrace new technology and the best of what it offers.”

EDRi Report