IPRED: a New Fake Consultation of the European Commission

The European Commission has launched a new public consultation on IPRED1. April deplores this upteemth consultation, which is a red herring, since no impact studies or consequences of the directive have been crafted.

IPRED ("intellectual property rights enforcement directive") was adopted by the European Parliament on October 3rd, 2004, and April condemned the worsening of sanctions the directive created through the undifferentiating and misleading concept of “intellectual property" (For more information on why this term should be avoided and rejected, see "Did You Say 'Intellectual Property'? It's a Seductive Mirage," by Richard Stallman.).

In 2011, and then again in 2013, the European Commission launched consultations with the objective of reforming the directive. Seemingly forgetting, or not satisfied with, the answers it had received, Europe's main political organ decided to do so again in December 2015.

In 2011, April addressed the consultation, by underlining the need for an in-depth impact study of the directive2, by drawing attention to the inherent risks of a global and repressive approach to very distinct sets of laws, and by calling for the establishment of the necessary bedrock allowing for a more faithful and free computing, for the benefit of the public at large.

In 2013, given the lack of recognition of its feedback, April chose not to participate in the new consultation .

Today, the issues and challenges being the same, April :

  • emphasizes the necessity of an in-depth impact study of the directive, without which such a reform cannot be carried out adequately in terms of transparency and political hindsight.
  • denounces the sacralization of a fallacious grouping of very different fields of law under the misleading term "intellectual property": copyright, patents, brands, technical drawings, etc. The underlying objectives, rules, and issues of these legal concepts differ widely. Furthermore, the term implies that these legal issues are similar to those pertaining to physical objects, even though we cannot apply the same thought patterns we do to physical goods and immaterial resources. April denounces this sustained confusion, which resembles a brainwash intended to fuel an ever more repressive logic.
  • condemns a directive that clearly aims at maintaining a pernicious power imbalance in favor of a few rightholder lobbies and to the detriment of the citizens.
  • asks the Commission to reconsider its position, and to shift from a repressive approach to a policy that promotes creativity, culture, and the sharing of knowledge, as well as innovation. For the nurturing of an innovative and inclusive society, April underscores that the main issue should be the modernisation of the fifteen-year-old copyright directive!

April calls on the European Commission to present, at long last, the results of the previous legislation, in order to allow for a fresh start, on concrete bases, and to allow for a rebalancing of the legislation.

Therefore the association hasn't responded to the consultation directly, but takes this opportunity to state its position to the Commission, detailing once again its concerns with IPRED.

  • 1. "Public consultation on the evaluation and modernisation of the legal framework for the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR)"
  • 2. The impact study was announced by article 18 of the directive, but the report of the Commission states, "the Commission has not been able to conduct a critical economic analysis of the impact that the Directive has had on innovation and on development of the information society".