Friday, May 27, 2011

New Report: IP Laws Are Crippling The EU Economy

Glyn Moody points us to a new report from the group EDRI, claiming that intellectual property is harming the economy of Europe. The group lists out a few key points:
  • Harmonise exceptions to copyright to create legal certainty across the EU about the permitted uses of works covered by IP
  • Establish pan-European licensing arrangements as a matter of priority, and tie future enforcement policy to the successful development of such proposals
  • Abandon repressive enforcement measures that would materially damage people's fundamental rights
  • Establishes a moratorium on the exporting of repressive IP enforcement to third countries
  • Makes a firm commitment to robust, objective evidence and re-evaluation of policy on the basis of it.
Much of the report is about harmonizing both patent and copyright laws across Europe or creating pan-European infrastructure for patent and copyright laws. I'm of a mixed opinion on those proposals. While I can definitely see the problems of having so many different local patent and copyright laws, historically, attempts to "harmonize" such laws only lead to much more draconian laws with little flexibility. Having different laws in different places allows for countries to experiment with, perhaps, less protectionist efforts, and to show that you don't necessarily need greater protectionism for the economy to function. On top of that, in my discussions with people throughout Europe, one of the concerns with harmonization was that each market is so different, that a single set of laws would lead to very bad policies in certain countries.

However I do appreciate the concerns about repressive enforcement and the aggressive expansion of repressive enforcement to other countries. All in all, it does seem like another useful report on the problems of today's intellectual property laws.

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