Disappointment At European Copyright Vote

22 September 2010
Scottish MEP Alyn Smith, a substitute member of the European Parliament's Culture and Education Committee, today voiced his concern over the European Parliament's decision to support a controversial resolution on the enforcement of copyright infringement.
The resolution signalled Parliament's agreement with a recent report on copyright enforcement which failed to distinguish between counterfeiting and basic copyright infringement, thereby potentially criminalising EU citizens who copy media for personal backups.

Smith voted against this motion, instead choosing to support an amendment which would have seen those who committed basic copyright infringement receive lower punishments than professional counterfeiting organisations.

Speaking after the vote, Smith said:

"It is disappointing that today's resolution only provides a one-size-fits-all response to intellectual property infringements, and in no way recognises the changed reality of intellectual property. It is regrettable that there has been no acknowledgement of the obvious distinction between counterfeiting crime and copyright infringements.

"It is the 21st Century, broadband use is increasing - the UN is aiming to have half the world connected to the internet by 2015. We need a 21st Century solution, looking beyond the traditional definition of copyright infringement and taking account of the different types of intellectual property rights and their impacts on consumer safety, rights or health, if we are going to make workable legislation.

"Making ordinary people criminals for backing up their DVDs is plainly not the right approach."