Lawmakers must work with consumers, or risk further global copyright protests

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  •  Fourth annual rating of national IP law shows ‘entrenched anti-consumer bias’
  • Global outcry over copyright enforcement exposes out-of-touch legislation

Consumers International (CI) is calling on copyright holders and intellectual property (IP) legislators to work with consumers, not against them, to avoid future mass protests over the right to access the internet without interference.

The call comes as CI publishes its fourth annual IP Watchlist an international review and rating scorecard of IP legislation around the world. For the fourth year running the IP Watchlist reveals an entrenched anti-consumer bias among IP laws, which continues to serve the narrow interests of multi-national copyright holders from the music, film and publishing industries.

Of the 30 countries rated in this year’s report, none scored higher than an overall ‘B’ grade. Most scoring particularly badly in terms of draconian enforcement practices and restrictions on freedom for consumers to share and transfer legally purchased digital content.

On publishing this year’s IP Watchlist, CI warns governments that the worldwide anti-copyright demonstrations seen in January and February 2012 (which included online protests by Google and Wikipedia, and demonstrations in Washington and several EU cities), could occur again unless consumer concerns are addressed in proposed IP legislation.

CI believes that the realities of consumer activity in the digital age mean copyright legislation is now a mainstream consumer policy issue. As such, the protests against EU and US laws to further restrict the public’s use of digital content could have been avoided if consumer rights organisations and open access groups had been appropriately consulted.

Jeremy Malcolm, Senior Policy Officer at Consumers International said:

“Consumers International’s IP Watchlist should be read by any lawmaker wondering how we reached such a crisis over ACTA and SOPA earlier this year and where such protests may likely crop up again. Our assessment shows that an entrenched anti-consumer bias continues to pervade IP legislation, and, if this goes unchecked, we are likely to see more protests over laws that do not reflect the legitimate rights and widespread practices of consumers in the digital age.”

Read more on the CI  website