Monday, October 05, 2009

EU Parliament to discuss Telecoms Amendment 138 with Council of Ministers

According to La Quadrature du Net some representatives from the EU parliament are to get together with counterparts from the Council of Ministers to sort out their differences over a technical amendment to the EU telecoms package.  Amendment 138 would effectively block the implementation of 3 strikes regimes without judicial oversight in member states.

IP geeks will recall that Commissioner Reding released the Commission's official views on the parliaments amendments to the package at the end of July.  Copyfighters were concerned about the penultimate paragraph in that document
"Concerning Amendment 138 the Commission accepted it in its amended proposal after the European Parliament's first reading but supported the European Parliament-Council compromise text afterwards as a balanced solution. The Commission could, therefore, accept the amendment, but will do its utmost to facilitate the emergence of a compromise between the co-legislators on this issue."
Prior to the issuing of that opinion there had been significant manoeuvrings behind the scenes. The amendment was variously dropped and re-worded and the parliament had voted overwhelmingly on two occasions to support it, for example.  There remains considerable mutual animosity between those who support it and those against.  So it will be interesting to see where these latest discussions lead, especially since the French have passed their latest attempt at 3 strikes legislation in mid September and the UK government have indicated a committment to doing likewise.

The amendment itself (now confusingly Amendment 46 (scroll down to page 41/93 in the amendments) reads
"Council common position – amending act
Article 1 – point 8 – point fb (new)
Directive 2002/21/EC
Article 8 – paragraph 4 - point fb (new)
Council common position

(fb) in paragraph 4, point (fb) shall be
“(fb) applying the principle that no
restriction may be imposed on the
fundamental rights and freedoms of endusers,
without a prior ruling by the
judicial authorities, notably in accordance
with Article 11 of the Charter of
Fundamental Rights of the European
Union on freedom of expression and
information, save when public security is
threatened in which case the ruling may
be subsequent.”

This AM restores AM 138 adopted in first reading by Parliament on 24 September 2008,
T6/0449/2008 (Rule 62(2)(a))."
The compromise position referred to the in Commission's official views, I believe facilitated the terminations of suspected copyright infringers' internet services but left open a possible right of appeal to an independent tribunal, not necessarily the courts, after the event.  As to the notion of 3 strikes itself, it trips over so many legal, technical and economic hurdles it's difficult to know where to start but I can't beat Lilian Edwards condemnation of the idea at the Musicians Fans and Online Copyright event last year.

Update: The latest French 3 strikes law HADOPI 2 has apparently been referred to the Constitutional Council which declared its predecessor unsconstitutional.

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