[rumori] EU Backs Off on Copyright Crackdown...

From: H. (hATweirdness.com)
Date: Tue Feb 06 2001 - 04:09:56 PST

EU Backs Off on Copyright Crackdown
By CONSTANT BRAND, Associated Press Writer

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - A European Union (news - web sites) parliamentary
committee voted down drastic changes to proposed new copyright rules Monday,
resisting heavy pressure from the entertainment industry to introduce
increased restrictions and levies on copying music for free off the

In a one-hour voting session of the European Parliament's legal and internal
market committee, members rejected most of a record 200 amendments tabled.

Committee members were lobbied hard by both the entertainment industry
seeking tougher controls on Internet downloading and their opponents among
educators, consumer groups, CD makers and telecommunications companies.

``This is a directive we have been dealing with for an awfully long time,''
said Italian socialist Enrico Bosselli, who authored the compromise report,
which now goes back to the 626-member EU assembly for a second reading next

``It was difficult to strike a balance with so many interests involved
here,'' Bosselli said.

Proposals to update EU copyright rules were introduced in 1997 and have been
bouncing from one committee to another during the past three years. Many
hope this directive strikes the right balance between consumers and the
entertainment industry.

One area under contention is a possible extension of national levies
currently charged in some EU countries on blank videotapes, compact discs,
recorders or players. These surcharges are meant to compensate artists for
pirated copies.

The proposal remains vague on levies, stating that right holders should be
awarded ``fair compensation.''

The record industry and artists argue online levies for artists are
necessary as the technical restrictions to limit online copying are still

A record industry umbrella group, the International Federation of
Phonographic Industries, said its $7 billion industry is at risk from
massive piracy. The group wants to restrict downloads to private,
noncommercial use.

``This is by no means the final result. We shall continue to press for a
directive that will benefit the creative community and consumers alike,''
said Frances Moore of the IFPI.

To get their point across, numerous artists from Sophia Loren to Andrea
Bocelli and Ireland's The Corrs have spent the last few months campaigning
against music piracy.

Meanwhile educators and libraries worry the new restrictions will would
hamper their access to books, music and other resources now found online.

Teresa Hackett, from the European Bureau of Library, Information and
Documentation Associations, referred to what might become a pay-as-you go
system for online resources.

``We are very afraid that we will be inadvertently caught up in an on-demand
situation,'' she said.

EU governments and the European Commission (news - web sites) both want the
draft legislation to pass unchanged when the EU assembly votes Feb. 14.

If the full European Parliament approves the directive, it would be sent to
the governments of the 15 EU member states for final consent.

If most governments object to the final version, the directive would have to
be redrafted until a majority in the European Parliament and among the 15
member governments concur.

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