Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive

European Commission

This IFSO project has been shelved since the directive has been adopted.

Proposal for a Directive on the enforcement on intellectual property rights

What is the IPR Directive?

The EU copyright Directive 2001 set out the legal framework for copyright and related rights in EU member states. The IPR Directive 2003 aims to harmonise the legislation of EU member states with regard to the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

The Commission claims that the proposal maintains a balance between helping rightholders to defend their rights and protecting users from unfair litigation, but it goes further than international obligations under TRIPS. Even before the scope of the proposal was widened significantly by the European Parliament in November 2003, this claim was hotly disputed.

Like it's predecessor, the IPR Directive has attracted controversary and criticism from politicians, IPR academics and a wide range of civil society interests including researchers, open source software movement, libraries, disability and consumer groups.

The proposed Directive:

What does the proposed Directive mean?

Entering a crucial stage in the legislative process

You can follow the legislative process here.

The Directive is entering a crucial stage with informal meetings between the three institutions to negotiate an agreement as their deadlines approach. Under the co-decision procedure, Parliament and Council must agree on the text. If the Council do not agree with Parliament's amendments, then it may be delayed until after the accession countries join the EU in May 2004 and after Parliament elections in June.

European Parliament :

Key points:

JURI extended the scope of the proposal to all infringements, not just commercial infringements.

As a corollary, criminal sanctions were replaced by civil sanctions and efforts were made to safeguard competition.


Irish MEPs invited to a pre-vote briefing at the Parliament in Strasbourg on 11.2.2004 organised by EDRI and FFII.

Council of the EU :

Key points:

Scope as extended by Parliament has been accepted

Civil sanctions replace the Commision criminal sanctions because the Council lack the authority to introduce these measures


Open letter (pdf) to Mary Harney, President of the Competitiveness Council stating IFSO concerns [copied to COREPER, Entemp, et al]

Informal meeting, together with ISPAI, with Entemp and Data Protection Commission on 2.2.2004

European Commission :

The European Commission first issued its legislative proposal on 31.01.2003.

Sent to the Council of the EU and the European Parliament for approval.

Text of the IP enforcement proposal

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Measures and Procedures to Ensure the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights COM (2003) 46 final, January 30, 2003 ... DOCID=503PC0046

FAQs on the IP enforcement proposal|0|RAPID&lg=EN&display=

Text of copyright Directive (aka EUCD) Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society ... numdoc=32001L0029 ...

The Draft IP Enforcement Directive - a threat to Competition and to Liberty Ross Anderson, Foundation for Information Policy Research

Europe's 'DMCA on steroids' gets go-ahead. 27 November 2003 Matthew Broersma, ZDNet UK,39020645,39118164,00.htm

New Euro law could make criminals of us all. 5 August 2003 Rupert Goodwins, ZDNet UK,39020691,39115479-2,00.htm

Procedures and Remedies for Enforcing IPRs: the European Commission's proposed Directive Cornish et al. E.I.P.R. 2003, 25(10), 447-449