March 31, 2004

NYTimes on the IFPI Suits [8:07 am]

The article, Fight Against Illegal File Sharing Is Moving Overseas, implicitly raises the question of how those countries that have not yet complied with the EU Copyright Directive might respond in the face of this initiative, particularly combined with the absence of “legal” alternatives in many European jurisdictions. The Mark Mulligan hyperlink takes you to his weblog entry on this subject.

The nature of the industry’s campaign - it announced no lawsuits in Britain or France, nor any in Asia - attests to the patchwork of copyright laws outside the United States. While the European Union has passed a uniform copyright protection law similar to that in the United States, it has yet to be ratified by all of the union’s current 15 member states.

The existing cases are being prosecuted under national laws, Mr. Berman said. He predicted that lawsuits would be filed in other countries, but said the timing is dependent on stricter enforcement of copyright protection.

[...] Critics of the lawsuits said the piecemeal approach would bewilder consumers, particularly in Europe.

“People won’t understand the message,” said Mark Mulligan, an analyst at Jupiter Research in London. “If you’re file sharing in Germany, you’re in trouble. If you’re file sharing in Spain, you’re fine.”

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