The Council of the European Union is currently reviewing a new copyright directive that could shape copright policy in all of the EU member states for years to come.

The Second Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive, also known as IPRED2, deals with the enforcement of copyright laws and has been the subject of some heated debate within Europe. Infringers are threatened with a maximum of four years of jail time and fines of up to 300.000 Euros (about 400.000 US-dollars).

The European Parliament decided to exempt non-commercial infringement from the directive though. A recent draft of amendments for the directive reads:

"'Infringements on a commercial scale' means any infringement of an intellectual property right committed to obtain a commercial advantage; this would exclude acts carried out by private users for personal and not for profit purposes."

The Council of the European Union apparently doesn't care too much for this distinction. It's version of the same amendment is a little shorter (PDF download):

"Definition of 'infringements on a commercial scale' to mean 'any infringement of an intellectual property right committed to obtain a commercial advantage'."

Of course, commercial advantage could also mean that someone just wants to save 99 Cents by downloading a song off of a P2P network instead of buying it at the iTunes Music Store.

This isn't the first time EU politicians tried to criminalize file sharers through IPRED2. EU parliament member Janelly Fourtou proposed to just get rid of the phrase "on a commercial scale" altogether. After all, it doesn't really make any difference whether people swap a few files or operate a factory for bootleg DVDs. At least not for Fourtou, whose husband incidentally is the former CEO of Vivendi.

(via futurezone)

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