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European Parliament postpones vote on IP law


European Parliament postpones vote on IP law

Monday, February 23 2004 @ 03:53 PM GMT

By Paul Meller, IDG News Service

The European Parliament has postponed a vote on a controversial law on intellectual property enforcement until early March, following drawn out negotiations with the European Commission and member state governments.

The Parliament's legal affairs committee is to discuss the proposal with the Irish government, which currently holds the presidency of the European Union (EU), and with the Union's executive body, the European Commission, on Monday in an attempt to reach an agreement that can be rubber stamped at next month's vote by the European Parliament.

The Commission is resisting signing up to an agreement that would stretch the reach of the law to all infringements of intellectual property such as patents, copyright and trademarks, according to people close to the Commission.

In its original proposal, the EU executive body limited the tough criminal sanctions only to infringements made for commercial purposes, tailoring the law to fight counterfeiting and piracy.

When it unveiled its proposal at the beginning of 2003 the record industry and Hollywood movie studios slammed it as insufficient. The record industry in particular wants the law to apply to private infringements, such as those committed by peer-to-peer exchanges of music files.