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graduated response / three strikes

Telecoms Package: A Missed Opportunity for Citizen's Rights

Paris, November 24th, 2009 - There is no reason to celebrate the general outcome of the Telecoms Package. The final text voted today is far from satisfactory: while it includes some consumer protections, they fall short of compensating for the various loopholes and threats to fundamental rights contained in the rest of the text.

ACTA: Worldwide Net restrictions without public debate

Paris, November 12th, 2009 - Since Spring 2008, The European Union, the United States, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Australia as well as a few other countries have been negotiating a trade treaty aimed at enforcing copyright and tackling counterfeited goods (Anti-Counterfeinting Trade Agreement or ACTA). The last round of negotiations, held in much secrecy last week in South Korea, was focused on the enforcement of so-called “intellectual property rights” on the Internet. La Quadrature puts together a web-dossier on ACTA and sends a letter1 to Christine Lagarde, French minister of the Economy, to ask that she publicly oppose the proposal regarding Internet regulation.

Europe only goes half-way in protecting Internet rights.

Brussels, November 5th, 2009 - An agreement has been reached on the Telecoms Package. The new text1 aimed at protecting Internet access includes positive elements such as a reference to the right to a "prior fair and impartial procedure" as well as the presumption of innocence. It also contains ambiguous language and potential loopholes. This rather unambitious provision will now be up for interpretation, and it remains to be seen whether it will invalidate Net access restrictions such as "three strikes" policies.

Will the EP turns its back on Internet rights?

Brussels, November 4th 2009 - On the eve of a crucial conciliation meeting that will decide on the fate of the "Telecoms Package", the European Parliament must decide whether it will keep its promise to protect citizens rights online. Will the European Parliament send a dangerous message to Member States by assenting to extrajudicial restrictions of Internet access? Should fundamental rights be sacrificed in an attempt to finish Telecoms Package at any cost?

"Three strikes" in Europe, on Wednesday?

Paris, November 2nd, 2009 - The negotiations on the Telecoms Package might come to a close on Wednesday. The Council of the European Union is still pushing for "three strikes" policies in Europe but is also attempting to allow private corporations to restrict citizens' Internet access. Will the European Parliament continue to hide behind a disputable legal argumentation provided by the rapporteur Catherine Trautmann, and accept the unacceptable for the future of Internet access in Europe?

A campaign page1 has been set up to allow everyone to contact Members of the European Parliament and urge them to refuse any proposal from the Council allowing "three strikes" policies in Europe, and to explicitly protect EU citizens' freedom to access the Net.

Net Freedoms in Europe: Recapitulating the capitulation

The European Parliament delegation led by Catherine Trautmann recently gave up on protecting EU citizens against arbitrary restrictions of their Internet access. In order to reach an agreement and avoid a clash with Member States, the Parliament retracted its support to the core element of notorious "amendment 138" : prior judicial decision before restrictions to access and usage of the Internet. This protection of citizens' fundamental rights against arbitrary restrictions of their Internet access came a long way. Here is a little restrospective on the "stations of the cross" of amendement 138.

(See also the rewording of amendment 138, preserving its core principles while adressing legal uncertainty, that was transmitted to MEPs last week)

HADOPI 2 validated, a defeat for the rule of Law

Paris, October 24th, 2009. On Thursday, the Constitutional Council gave its decision1 on HADOPI 2, the legislative patch proposed by the French government in order to cricumvent the Council's refusal of the core provisions of HADOPI 1. La Quadrature du Net deplores a weak decision that does not correspond to the progressive protection granted in the decision on HADOPI 1, which recognized the Internet as instrumental to the freedom of expression and communication. It is a sad news for democracy and the rule of law, and the beginning of the failure of this new attempt to enforce a copyright regime that is fundamentally unadapted to the digital age.

Amendment 138 dead by lack of courage of the Parliament

Strasbourg, October 21st, 2009 - Yesterday, representatives of the European Parliament, an institution that ordinarily prides itself for protecting human rights at home and abroad, decided to surrender to the pressure exerted by Member States. The Parliament gave up on amendment 138, a provision adopted on two occasions by an 88% majority of the plenary assembly, and which aims at protecting citizens' freedom in the online world. Instead of ensuring that no restriction to Internet access would be imposed without the prior ruling of a judge, amendment 138 will instead be replaced by a weak provision1, that does not carry any new important safeguard for citizen's freedoms.

Amendment 138: Why does Trautmann persevere in giving up?

Strasburg, October 20th, 2009 – Rapporteur on the Telecoms Package, Catherine Trautmann will try once again to push a replacement for amendment 138. Her proposal replaces the effective protection of freedom of expression thanks to a prior judicial decision before three-strike types of sanctions can take place by "the right to an effective and timely judicial review". But can the right to a fair trial be a reality for someone who is deprived of the access to the Internet, the essential means of expression and communication in todays' world ?

Amendment 138: The Parliament betrayed by its negotiators

Brussels, October 14th, 2009 - Negotiations on the Telecoms Package took a worrying turn for citizens rights and freedoms. The European Parliament Delegation was betrayed by its negotiators, led by Catherine Trautmann (S&D) and Alejo Vidal-Quadras (EPP). In total contradiction with the mandate given by their colleagues representing the Parliament, the negotiators unilaterally accepted to work on a proposal by the Council of the EU that negates citizens' rights1. This dangerous proposition is set to replace "amendment 138", voted twice by 88% of the Parliament.

Amendment 138: The European Parliament must stand up against the Council

Paris, October 5th 2009 - Negotiations have begun between the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on "amendment 138"1, which protects citizens against restrictions on their Internet access. The Council wants to neutralize it, but has yet to express publicly what specific parts of the text member States oppose. As the Parliament voted twice for this amendment, by a very strong majority, it must now stand firm and show EU citizens that it is committed to protecting their fundamental rights.

  • 1. am.138 states “the principle that no restriction maybe imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end-users without a prior ruling of 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.“

Will the European Parliament take its last chance to save citizens' rights?

Brussels, Sept 30th - The European Parliament decided on Sept. 28th that it would not attempt to fix the provisions endangering Net neutrality in the "Telecoms Package"1. Only "amendment 138"2, which protects citizens against restriction of their fundamental rights, will be negotiated during the conciliation procedure3 that is just about to start. In the upcoming meetings, either the rapporteur Trautmann will have the courage to stand in order to defend people's rights to access the Net, or the Parliament will just bow before the Council and give up European citizens' freedoms.

Why would EU sacrifice Internet Freedoms?

Updated on Sept 21st: The list of MEPs that will be part of the Parliament delegation in the conciliation committee is now official.

Paris, September 21th 2009 - The conciliation of the EU "Telecoms Package"1 will begin in a few days. 27 Members of the European Parliament and representatives of the executive branches of the 27 Member States will negotiate the text in closed-doors meetings. The outcome of these discussions will shape the future of Internet users' freedoms in Europe. EU citizens must ask their representatives to adopt firm positions to protect their citizens' fundamental rights and defend Net neutrality2.

Telecoms Package: preparation for a third reading

updated: Sept 21st.The list of MEPs that will be part of the EP delegation conciliation committee is now official.
updated: Sept 17th.European directives of the "Telecoms Package" are advancing through the codecision process of the EU. As soon as the Council of the EU formally rejects any amendment voted by the European Parliament in second reading1, the Telecoms Package will enter the conciliation procedure. In this closed negotiation (between 27 representatives of the Council of the EU and 27 representatives of the European Parliament), the fate of an open, free and neutral Internet in the EU will be decided. Here is a quick guide to understanding this procedure, and participating now to urge open-minded and progressive MEPs to take part in the conciliation committee (There are only a few days left as the decision are already taking place.).

  • 1. This formal rejection of the European Parliament's 2nd reading amendments by the Council triggers the countdown to the conciliation phase. In practice, negotiations could start as soon as the composition of the conciliation committee is known.

HADOPI raises from the dead, still as flawed

After the groundbreaking decision1 from the Constitutional Council of France, last month against the three strikes law adopted in May, the Government is re-introducing a reworked version of the so-called "graduated response". The inherent flaws of this system, aimed at fighting exchange of entertainment content through Internet, makes this new bill as dangerous as its predecessor.

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