Letter to Anne Campbell MP in reply to letter forwarded from Melanie Johnson MP

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Anne Campbell forwarded to me a letter from Melanie Johnson MP in reply to my original letter. Since Melanie Johnson's letter didn't say very much, I've sent Anne another one in an attempt to get some more specific answers.

Anne Campbell MP,
House of Commons,

28th May 2002.

Dear Anne,

EU Directive on copyright

Thank you for passing on to me the very informative reply you received from Melanie Johnson MP regarding the matters raised in my letter to you of March 26th. I am very grateful for the time which you have spent finding answers to my questions.

However, there are a few issues which Ms. Johnson's letter does not address and on which I would appreciate clarification. She states that ``[the Directive will not] have unjustified or undesirable effects as Mr. Lightfoot suggests.'' However, there are any number of cases in which it appears to me that the Directive certainly will have specific unjustified and undesirable effects. In particular,

Clearly, many of these issues could be addressed by ensuring that the UK's implementation of Article 6(4) of the Directive gives the strongest possible protection to the rights of consumers, so that they are not prevented from exercising their legitimate rights by technological measures implemented by rights holders ostensibly for another purpose.

Further, I do not fully understand how it is expected that implementation of the Directive will, as stated, ``[ensure] continued and effective protection of copyright material in the digital age'' or ``assist in the fight against piracy on the Internet.''

Unauthorised copying is already illegal. Technological measures will succeed in preventing copying only if they are actually physically effective in doing so: the fact that it will be illegal to circumvent them is hardly going to matter to those already committing an illegal act. Article 6 will not by fiat make technological measures more technologically effective, and so it is unlikely to make any difference to those who attempt to circumvent them for the purposes of unauthorised copying.

I do not understand the benefit to consumers or to rights holders of creating new law in this field, and would be much obliged for an example of how Article 6 of the Directive will specifically assist in the suppression of unauthorised copying.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Lightfoot.

Copyright (c) 2002 Chris Lightfoot. All rights reserved.