Dogmatic IPR enforcement fails to address the challenges of the Internet-based creative economy

La Quadrature du Net's response to the European Commission's communication on “Enhancing the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the internal market
COM(2009) 467

Download the memo in pdf.

On September 11th, 2009, the European Commission released a new communication on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) in the Internal market. The communication addresses a broad range of issues, notably copyright infringements. In line with the recent leaked information regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)1 currently under negotiation, the document calls for voluntary agreements between Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and rights holders to deal with copyright infringement over the Internet.

La Quadrature du Net, along with many other advocacy groups across the world2, believes that the position of the Commission on the matter suffers from several misconceptions. These errors, which are discussed below, reflect for the most part the influence of a few corporate interests on IPR public policy. Such inaccuracy in the analysis of the phenomenon of file-sharing is all the more illegitimate given that the Commission and the Member States3 have failed to consider alternatives to the repression of non-commercial uses of copyrighted works by Internet-users. We also take the view that the proposals put forward in the communication, if they are carried on, will inhibit many of the socio-economic benefits that the Internet offers.

This memorandum uncovers the undesirable outcome of the Commission's mention of voluntary agreements between stakeholders (1.). It also outlines how the view regarding copyright enforcement laid out in the communication could eventually severely undermine the rights and freedoms of European citizens (2.). From original analytical mistakes (3.) stems a wrongful assessment of the impact of file-sharing (4.), and so we urge the Commission to reconsider its copyright policies (5.).

Read more (pdf).