EU hires a music industry exec to help decide its copyright policy

It is looking like the EU might be getting ready to bring in crucifixion as a punishment for P2P first offenders.

The policy, which we made up, would be on the wish list for the Music and Film industry if they had our imagination. Mind you if they had our imagination, they would be making money and Justine Bebier would not be making records he would be flipping burgers or cleaning supermarkets like ordinary teens.  

Governments have been increasingly giving into the demands of big content, but the latest trend is becoming a little scary.  

It seems that Big Content is sending its lawyers to work for the various government authorities to advise them on policy.  

It is basically like lobbying, only the taxpayer has to pay for it.Big Content often seems to operate sleeper units within governments.  Take for example the European Union’s new head of copyright policy is Maria Prat (no really).  

On her CV is a job directing “global legal policy” for IFPI, the global recording industry’s London-based trade group.

She has been back in the EU for a while running DG MARKT, which sounds like a canine ebay for the dyslexic, but actually  makes sure that EU countries don’t enact illegal barriers to halt the free movement of service professionals like doctors. Dull and nothing to do with copyright.Now she suddenly responsible for copyright matters.  

While the EU can safely say – well her time with the IFPI was a long time ago, she was young and she didn’t inhale –  that is not how others are seeing the appointment.  

KEI, a nonprofit which works on trade and copyright issues, Jamie Love (no really), said that when Prat was at the IFPI, she was a hardliner who wanted strong copyright protection.In 2003, during her time at IFPI she was quoted as saying the recording industry is fighting on three fronts: enforcement, the formulation of a new business model, and pleading for strong copyright protection.

She argued that “private copying had no reason to exist and should be limited further than it is”. Prat thought that private copying was against the Berne copyright convention.Earlier she had moaned that a lack of a re-assessment at European level of the private copying exceptions in light of the digital environment is particularly regrettable.

Obviously she is now in a position to do something about that.

Liberal Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake and Swedish Pirate Party MEP Christian Engström have written to the European Commission, questioning how such an obviously partisan person could be appointed to such an important role.

The letter wondered if the Commission felt that such an appointment would help to build confidence with the European Parliament and the general public that the Commission can be trusted to handle copyright-related issues in a fair and balanced manner

Writing in his bog  , Engström was furious.  He said that the European Union was becoming a place where the big business lobby organisations are calling most of the shots at the Commission, and where citizens are just seen as a nuisance to be ignored. 

He said the only thing unusual about this case was that they don’t even bother to try to hide it any more.