IPRED is not that well known, even among the Net-savvy. And yet it's one of the most important EU directives that affects the online world, and a consultation on its future closes at the end of this week, on 30 March. Here's the background from EDRI:
The directive has been in force since 2004 and requires all Member States to apply remedies and penalties against those engaged in "commercial" infractions of intellectual property law. This is the Directive which is partly responsible for the heavy-handed injunctions that are being imposed by some courts.
The European Commission has recently launched this consultation in order to evaluate the efficiency of the current framework and the necessity of a revision. However, some parts of the questionnaire dangerously lead the reader to believe that Internet companies should be in charge of dealing with alleged infringements. This would seriously undermine freedom of expression online, the right to a fair trial and to privacy.
It is therefore absolutely crucial that the European Commission receives diverse input from citizens and organisations. This is a perfect occasion to tell the Commission that a comprehensive copyright reform is needed – instead of measures in the spirit of ACTA.
As that rightly emphasises, this is a hugely important opportunity to makes sure that ACTA does not creep in by the back door. However, in order to participate in the consultation, you have to register, as the European Commission's site explains:
In order to submit your contribution, please follow the procedure below:
Once you have submitted your registration, you will receive by e-mail a second link that will enable you to reply to the full consultation questionnaire
This registration procedure is aimed at facilitating the filling in of the survey, as it provides the possibility to save a draft version of your contribution. Please note that the registration is not automatic: once we receive your request for registration, generated by the Registration Form, we will send you an e-mail with a personalised link to the survey.
There are a couple of caveats here. First, the second email does not arrive immediately, so if you want to take part in this important consultation, I strongly recommend you apply now, to give yourself the maximum time possible. Secondly, as the EC site itself warns:
Note that, as the e-mail will be coming from a standardised no-reply e-mail address ([email protected]), we would also kindly ask you to verify whether your e-mail manager did not mistakenly put the e-mail with the personalised link to the survey into your spam folder.
Exactly this happened to me, so it's probably pretty common. The moral is to check your spam folder if you don't receive the second email within a few hours.
EDRI has put together an excellent background booklet on IPRED [.pdf], as well as a detailed answering guide [.pdf] for the current consultation. I strongly recommend both. Tomorrow, I shall publish my own responses to the questions. In the meantime, please apply to take part – this is really important.