Thursday, July 03, 2008

3 strikes amendments to EU telecoms proposals

Thanks also ORG for an update on the music industry's lobbying efforts to encourage the introduction of a 3 strikes law at European level, via last minute amendments to proposed telecoms legislation.

"Over in France, President Nicolas Sarkozy (who also took over the European presidency yesterday) has put his weight behind legislation proposed by the Olivennes report. The bill, which has been delayed until the Autumn, will mandate termination of internet connections. It goes without saying that it is the subject of much controversy across the Channel.

La Quadrature du Net - a French pressure group - have been actively campaigning on the issue. They’re also tracking the progress of the Telecoms Package, a review of European telecoms law currently in the European Parliament. Ordinarily this bill would deal with network infrastructure, universal service and other purely telecoms matters.

But as La Quadrature du Net announced yesterday:

“One week before a key vote in the reform of European law on electronic communications (”Telecom Package”), La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net) denounces a series of amendments aimed at closing the open architecture of the Internet for more control and surveillance of users..

…this set of amendments creates the unprecedented mechanism known as graduated response in European law; judicial authority and law courts are vacated in favour of private actors and “technical measures” of surveillance and filtering. According to rules set forth by administrative authorities and rights holders, intermediaries will be forced to cooperate in monitoring and filtering their subscribers, or they will be exposed to administrative sanctions”

If you want to voice your concerns about 3 strikes legislation brought in through the backdoor in Brussels, you have until 7 July, the date of the vote in IMCO and ITRE committees, to contact your MEP and inform them that the “Telecoms Package” amendments could bring in disproportionate and ineffective law.

You can find details of your MEPs here. Suggestions for topics to raise in your letters are here and analysis and commented amendments with other resources about the Telecoms Package are also available."

Lilian Edwards has pointed out in great detail why a 3 strikes approach to tackling copyright infringement on the Net is inappropriate from all kinds of legal perspectives, so I won't repeat her lessons here. This is just the latest example of how the EU can be used and abused as a policy laundering mechanism for proposals which have been categorically rejected at member state level. It's also the kind of thing which simultaneously undermines the ideals of the EU and the sovereignty of member states and I guess reinforces the wisdom of my fellow countrymen and women in the recent referendum on the Lisbon treaty.

Update: If you'd like the whole story in one gulp, a relatively large gulp, then there's nothing to beat Lilian's latest blog post on the subject. Essential reading. And btw the vote on the complex telecoms legislation, which will mandate a 3 strikes rule across the EU as one of many major side effects, is tomorrow, Monday 7th July.

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