EUCD - nothing to worry about?

The following written in response to someone claiming on slashdot that the EUCD was nothing to worry about. It appears that the slashdot moderation system is broken, and I'm temporarily unable to post despite having positive karma, so I present the reply here instead - jtjm

Did you read the directive at all? I followed the provided link, and look what I found:
Which shows that neither teachers copying for students, nor Braille copies, nor encryption research will become illegal.

Indeed we (members of the UK Campaign for Digital Rights) have, in some depth. Unfortunately, all the exclusions you refer to are optional, and need not be implemented by the various member states. It is to be expected that the EU governments will come under the same lobbying pressure from the Recording and publishing industries that the US Government did with the DMCA (which also contains what look like exclusions for academic research, etc, which are rendered almost entirely ineffective in practise by means of some cunning legal tricks).

There is evidence for the same legal trickery already in the EU directive - the exemptions allow you to make use of a circumvention mechanism for the non-infringing purposes you'd expect, but do not exempt anyone from prosecution/lawsuits should they create one.

Alan Cox is indeed extremely concerned about the EUCD, and you should not be at all surprised if you find him, in the not too distance future, speaking about the EUCD in terms far from glowing, at conferences aimed at the European software industry. I would recommend you read some of the resources at: (our parent site) before leaping to your own conclusions about how inoffensive the EUCD might be.

(See the summary of one of our recent IRC meetings - unexpurgated transcripts are linked therefrom - for further evidence that Alan Cox is taking the threat of the EUCD very seriously indeed).

See also the articles linked from the CDR's EUCD links page (apologies for getting this link wrong in my earlier post to this thread).

Expect also to see a lot more from the Foundation for Information Policy Research ( on European Copyright Legislation over the next month or two.

If implemented with some revisions, and all the exemptions in full force, the EUCD would be considerably less threatening to musicians, the Free Software Movement, academics, and others than the DMCA. However, at present, we could very easily find ourselves (in Europe) faced with cases similar to Sklyarov's, Felten's, and the DeCSS case if the EUCD is allowed to be pushed through without substantial lobbying to counter that of the Recording and Publishing Industries. I see no evidence whatever (DMCA, SSSCA, FTAA's DMCA-alike - see that the recording and publishing industries are to be trusted not to seek to turn the EUCD into a carbon-copy of the DMCA when it comes before the legislature of the EU member states.

Julian T. J. Midgley
Campaign Co-ordinator
UK Campaign for Digital Rights

Julian T. J. Midgley
Last modified: Mon Oct 29 14:17:20 GMT 2001