MEPs wave through IP rights enforcement

Hunting season opens in two years


The European Parliament has passed the IP Rights Enforcement Directive, unchanged from its mid February draft.

It includes none of the amendments proposed by civil liberties and consumer rights groups, and sets the scene for a European version of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The directive will become EU law in two days, and member states have two years to draft and pass legislation based on its framework.

The announcement on the European Parliament's website refers to a "compromise agreement" with the Council, and says that the directive's full force need not be applied to individuals copying music files for their own use.

Although this sounds promising, the key phrase is: "need not be". Robin Gross, director of IP Justice, a US-based campaigning group, says there is no justification for such as statement.

"The scope of the directive, laid out in plain English in Article 2, remains unchanged," she says. This means file-sharers remain the same in the eyes of this law as large scale commercial pirates.

She also argues that references to a compromise are extremely misleading. In fact, the "compromise" is an earlier agreement between Parliament and the Council of Ministers, says Gross. The original draft had called for criminal sanctions. This was dropped by Janelly Fourtou, the MEP responsible for the directive, to get the bill passed before the European elections on 13 June. Her husband is the CEO of Vivendi Universal.

Gross continues: "Madame Fourtou, the Rapporteur who has been ramming this directive through the process, will personally be enriched by through her family ties to (one of the) world's largest entertainment companies, which (could) now use these new enforcement procedures to harrass and extort consumers for non-commercial and other minor infringements."

Her concerns about Fourtou were echoed during the debate. UK Scottish National Party MEP Sir Neil MacCormick, who sits on the JURI committtee, it was inappropriate for Fourtou to be pushing this bill through, because she stood to gain so much personally from its passing.

Some 330 MEPs voted in favour of the bill and 151 against, with 39 abstentions, so the bill will become law.

A statement on the European Parliament's website said the directive will help to combat counterfeiting and piracy in the single market, a problem which affects software, toys, CDs and even pharmaceuticals.

According to IP Justice, it also means European civil liberties and consumer rights have taken a serious knock, and file-sharers are on borrowed time. ®

Related stories

Kill the EU IP Rights Enforcement Bill!
EC IP enforcement 'threatens more SCO-style attacks'


Other stories you might like

  • HPE unveils Arm-based ProLiant server for cloud-native workloads
    Looks like it went with Ampere – which means a certain Reg writer lost a bet

    Arm has a champion in the shape of HPE, which has added a server powered by the British chip designer's CPU cores to its ProLiant portfolio, aimed at cloud-native workloads for service providers and enterprise customers alike.

    Announced at the IT titan's Discover 2022 conference in Las Vegas, the HPE ProLiant RL300 Gen11 server is the first in a series of such systems powered by Ampere's Altra and Altra Max processors, which feature up to 80 and 128 Arm-designed Neoverse cores, respectively.

    The system is set to be available during Q3 2022, so sometime in the next three months, and is basically an enterprise-grade ProLiant server – but with an Arm CPU at its core instead of the more usual Intel Xeon or AMD Epyc X86 chips.

    Continue reading
  • US weather forecasters power up latest supercomputers to keep you out of the rain
    NOAA makes it rain for HPE, AMD

    Predicting the weather is a notoriously tricky enterprise, but that’s never held back America's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). After more than two years of development, the agency brought a pair of supercomputers online this week that it says will enable more accurate forecast models.

    Developed and maintained by General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) under an eight-year contract, the Cactus and Dogwood supers — named after the fauna native to the machines' homes in Phoenix, Arizona, and Manassas, Virginia, respectively — will support larger, higher-resolution models than previously possible. The cost to build, house, and support and operate these machines, now operational, will cost $150 million over the next five years, we understand.

    “People are looking for the best possible weather forecast information that they can get,” Brian Gross, director of the Environmental Modeling Center for the National Weather Service, told The Register.

    Continue reading
  • Google said to be taking steps to keep political campaign emails out of Gmail spam bin
    Just after Big Tech comes under fire for left and right-leaning message filters

    Google has reportedly asked the US Federal Election Commission for its blessing to exempt political campaign solicitations from spam filtering.

    The elections watchdog declined to confirm receiving the supposed Google filing, obtained by Axios, though a spokesperson said the FEC can be expected to publish an advisory opinion upon review if Google made such a submission.

    Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. If the web giant's alleged plan gets approved, political campaign emails that aren't deemed malicious or illegal will arrive in Gmail users' inboxes with a notice asking recipients to approve continued delivery.

    Continue reading
  • China is trolling rare-earth miners online and the Pentagon isn't happy
    Beijing-linked Dragonbridge flames biz building Texas plant for Uncle Sam

    The US Department of Defense said it's investigating Chinese disinformation campaigns against rare earth mining and processing companies — including one targeting Lynas Rare Earths, which has a $30 million contract with the Pentagon to build a plant in Texas.

    Earlier today, Mandiant published research that analyzed a Beijing-linked influence operation, dubbed Dragonbridge, that used thousands of fake accounts across dozens of social media platforms, including Facebook, TikTok and Twitter, to spread misinformation about rare earth companies seeking to expand production in the US to the detriment of China, which wants to maintain its global dominance in that industry. 

    "The Department of Defense is aware of the recent disinformation campaign, first reported by Mandiant, against Lynas Rare Earth Ltd., a rare earth element firm seeking to establish production capacity in the United States and partner nations, as well as other rare earth mining companies," according to a statement by Uncle Sam. "The department has engaged the relevant interagency stakeholders and partner nations to assist in reviewing the matter.

    Continue reading
  • California's attempt to protect kids online could end adults' internet anonymity
    Websites may be forced to verify ages of visitors unless changes made

    California lawmakers met in Sacramento today to discuss, among other things, proposed legislation to protect children online. The bill, AB2273, known as The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, would require websites to verify the ages of visitors.

    Critics of the legislation contend this requirement threatens the privacy of adults and the ability to use the internet anonymously, in California and likely elsewhere, because of the role the Golden State's tech companies play on the internet.

    "First, the bill pretextually claims to protect children, but it will change the Internet for everyone," said Eric Goldman, Santa Clara University School of Law professor, in a blog post. "In order to determine who is a child, websites and apps will have to authenticate the age of ALL consumers before they can use the service. No one wants this."

    Continue reading
  • Is computer vision the cure for school shootings? Likely not
    Gun-detecting AI outfits want to help while root causes need tackling

    Comment More than 250 mass shootings have occurred in the US so far this year, and AI advocates think they have the solution. Not gun control, but better tech, unsurprisingly.

    Machine-learning biz Kogniz announced on Tuesday it was adding a ready-to-deploy gun detection model to its computer-vision platform. The system, we're told, can detect guns seen by security cameras and send notifications to those at risk, notifying police, locking down buildings, and performing other security tasks. 

    In addition to spotting firearms, Kogniz uses its other computer-vision modules to notice unusual behavior, such as children sprinting down hallways or someone climbing in through a window, which could indicate an active shooter.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022