IPRED: the European Commission Must Listen to the Citizens!

Paris, July 11th, 2011 – The European Commission just published the synthesis of the responses to the consultation on the revision of the anti-sharing “IPRED” directive. Among these are a large number of responses from European citizens worried about the transformation of Internet technical intermediaries into a private copyright police. La Quadrature du Net congratulates all citizens for their watchfulness and their responses. The Commission can no longer ignore the citizens' opposition to its project to reform the IPRED directive.

The European Commission just published a report on the results of the consultation on the revision of the anti-sharing IPRED directive1, to which La Quadrature took part. Citizens were the first group of respondents, before the entertainment industry representatives (rights-holders, collecting societies, etc.). Given the large number of responses, the Commission even decided to take into account answers sent more than two month after the deadline (normally set to March, 31th 2011).

Naturally, citizens are opposing the Commission’s project to reform IPRED, which intends to fight the online sharing of culture “at the source”, by turning Internet actors into a private police force on the Net. This strategy announced at the end of May by commissioner Michel Barnier2, follows the repressive policies encouraged by ACTA3, the conclusions of the G84 or more recently those of the OECD5. As reminded by the UN special rapporteur for freedom of expression last month6, such an evolution of Internet law would be highly detrimental to freedom of expression, privacy and the right to a fair trial.

“This important mobilization shows how concerned citizens are about rights and freedoms on the Internet, and their refusal to see Internet actors turned into a copyright police under the guise of ‘cooperation’. While copyright debates are systematically biased by the entertainment industries' intense lobbying, the importance of this citizen participation should make it clear here that the sharing of culture is an opportunity, not a threat, and that fighting it is bound to fail and harm freedoms. The Commission must take into account the voice of citizens by renouncing its repressive project and initiating a copyright reform that takes into account the public's rights and new uses.” declared Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson of the citizen group La Quadrature du Net.

La Quadrature thanks and congratulates all the citizens who took part in this consultation and trusts them to follow with diligence the anti-sharing directive's evolution.