Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-04-23-Speech-1-144"

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"Mr President, despite what has been said by other Members in this House, the proposed directive came about as a response to the increasingly widespread theft of intellectual property. We know full well that current Union legislation does not provide for a Community policy on penalties to combat piracy and counterfeiting of goods. In addition, there are considerable differences between the systems applied by the various Member States, as the Commission has rightly pointed out. This obviously hinders effective protection of intellectual property, which in turn has a direct negative effect on the value of investment in innovation. I firmly believe that it is essential to counter these practices at the Community level. If we also take into account that the counterfeiting of completely new products such as medicines or toys can be dangerous to life and health, the problem becomes even graver. Clearly, counterfeiting products of all kinds also involves producing packaging and employing a range of individuals such as graphic artists and distributors. There is too much for a single person to handle. Well-organised criminal gangs are involved, and it is precisely their activity that the directive aims to hit hard. The measures proposed in the proposed directive should be deemed beneficial. Infringement of intellectual property rights is a crime that must be punished. There is, however, scope for argument about the limits of responsibility, and especially about who is to be held responsible. Those who produce counterfeit goods and place them on the market must certainly be punished. On the other hand, it would be unacceptable to punish those who purchased or used goods or services unaware of their illegal origin. The Commission’s proposal does not define deliberate action in the context of infringement of intellectual property rights sufficiently clearly, and that should be remedied. To summarise, adoption of the text of this directive is essential, and we must only regret that we are not in a position today to take the next vital step forward. After all, it is possible to identify groups of crimes that it is particularly difficult to combat in today’s globalised world, on the basis of dozens of different legal systems. I believe that greater harmonisation of criminal law in the European Union would go a long way towards improving effectiveness, as today’s debate confirms."@en1

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