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Thursday, February 15, 2001
EU Copyrights may cover downloads…


"...The European Parliament on Wednesday endorsed tougher rules granting artists and record labels more copyright protection for their works downloaded from the Internet. Backers said the new law will spell the end in Europe of music-sharing Websites such as Napster, just days after a U.S. appeals court effectively ruled Napster must stop people who use it to swap copyrighted music without charge and without restriction.

"The illegal use of copyrighted material is banned. The new rules were a major step forward for rights holders. The days of Napster-like Websites enabling free copying of music without a penny going to the artists or record labels are over.What Napster offers goes beyond the private sphere. In the EU we are not envisaging that it will be legal to buy music in a shop, then put it on the Internet without users paying for it" said the bill's author, Italian socialist Enrico Bosselli

The EU assembly vote came after a last rush of conflicting appeals: from music stars demanding better protection of their rights to music and lyrics, and from telecommunications companies, CD makers and consumer groups urging a more liberal approach.

The new EU rules tighten the definition of "private copy" and ban commercial use of copied material taken from the Internet. They also allow people to copy music - or any other data from the Internet - for their own use and to share with friends provided the rightsholder gets "fair compensation". The bill leaves it to national governments to decide how to implement that. Some have already enacted fees on such things as blank CDs to cover payments to artists. Educators, museums and libraries will be able to copy material for public use free of charge, Bosselli said. "Copyright should be protected, but the right to study and do research should also be protected if it is not for commercial purposes." The association of European Telecommunications Network Operators said it was pleased that no copyright fees would be assessed for "streaming" - the technique that lets users see video or hear music on the Internet without downloading it..."



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