In March MEPs voted by 330-151 (with 39 abstentions) to support a proposed directive protecting intellectual property rights and aimed at helping combat the increase in counterfeiting and piracy

Although this was only the first reading in the codecision procedure, the European Parliament has reached an informal agreement with the Council of Ministers, which should ensure that the directive is adopted before the European elections in June.

MEPs adopted amendments to the Commission's original proposal stipulating that enforcement measures should be applied only to breaches of the law on a commercial scale - individuals acting in good faith would be excluded from the directive. This includes those downloading music for their own use. The Parliament also voted against imposing criminal sanctions for any infringements of the law, preferring to see civil and administrative sanctions.