EU proposes harmonisation of criminal sanctions for infringements

August 2005

Record Labels, Music Publishers, Film and Television, Internet

The European Commission has adopted proposals to form a new directive which will align criminal law in the European Community in relation to the use of criminal sanctions for copyright infringement. The proposals will extend to at least commercial piracy. The directive is aimed at allowing Community wide co-operation in the investigation and prosecution of piracy and counterfeiting. The Commission argues that counterfeiting and piracy are so lucrative, and carry such light penalties relative to other forms of trafficking, that they are attracting investment from criminal organisations. The Commission says the directive is being aimed particularly at organised counterfeiters and faked goods that are dangerous to public health and safety, with minimum prison terms of four years being mandated for these offenses. Individual countries will have the option to impose harsher terms when the directive is translated into national law.


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