News

Copyright: Towards a recognition of users' rights at WIPO?

Last week (December 14th-18th), the World Intellectual Property Organization's standing committee on copyright and related rights (SCCR) was considering, among other things1, a proposal by Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay for an international treaty aimed at increasing the accessibility of books for blind people. The SCCR eventually decided to initiate "focused, open-ended consultations" regarding exceptions and limitations for print-disabled persons, and will then consider whether it is ready to move forward with a treaty.

Questions for the new European Commissioners

Paris, December 16th, 2009 - 2 weeks after launching a consultation, la Quadrature du Net is submitting to the European Parliament a set of questions to be asked to the Commissioners designate.

ACTA: A Global Threat to Freedoms (Open Letter)

Updated on December 24th, 2009

Paris, December 10th 2009 - A worldwide coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations, consumers unions and online service providers associations publish an open letter to the European institutions regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) currently under negotiation. They call on the European Parliament and the EU negotiators to oppose any provision that would undermine the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens in Europe and across the world.

European Parliament to adopt a report on IPR enforcement

The European Parliament is in the process of writing an own-initiative report in response to the Commission's communication on "enhancing the enforcement of intellectual property rights".

La Quadrature meets with French Telecoms Regulator on Net neutrality

Yesterday, La Quadrature du Net was invited by the French Telecoms Regulator for an informal meeting by the working group in charge of Net neutrality.

(In French)

Dangerous Anti-sharing Law in Spain

The Spanish government just announced a new bill that would grant an administrative body –the Commission for Intellectual Property– the power to order the take down or blocking of websites that “allow or facilitate” copyright infringements. Even more dangerous for civil liberties and freedom of expression, the Commission would be allowed to determine on its own whether judicial intervention is necessary.

European Commission's views on ACTA draft Internet chapter leak

Yesterday, the Commission's analysis of the US proposal regarding the draft Internet chapter of the ACTA leaked. The document confirmed what was previously reported, namely that the US proposal would extend an extremist regulation of the Internet to all signatory countries, with the implementation of three-strikes schemes and content filtering.

You can find the full analysis here.

Ask what the next European Commission will do for our Freedoms!

Paris, November 26th 2009 - La Quadrature is calling on European citizens to submit questions aimed at finding out where the next European Commission (2010-2014) stands on EU citizens' fundamental freedoms on the Internet.

The Council of the European Union and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, just agreed1 on a college of Commissioners designate. The Parliament will now conduct hearings2 before appointing the full college.

  • 1. http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/09/522&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=fr
  • 2. More infos about the Commissionners hearings: http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Hearings_Commissioners

ACTA, U.S Democracy and the Global Knowledge Economy

Eddan Katz 1 and Gwen Hinze 2 from the Electronic Frontier Foundation recently published a very insightful essay on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in the Yale Law Journal of International Law Online.

  • 1. International Affairs Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • 2. International Policy Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation

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.

Setting the record straight on Net neutrality and infrastructure investment

A new report by the U.S advocacy group Free Press provides clear evidence that, despite the claims of some Internet Serivce Providers, Net neutrality will not harm network investment. On the contrary, the report shows that legal protections in favor of an open Internet will have a positive impact on investment in both the network and applications markets.

One more breach to Net neutrality in Europe: Time to legislate

Paris, November 19th, 2009 - In Spain, the mobile operator Vodafone is launching a new offer that violates the fundamental principle of Net neutrality. This is one more evidence that the "Telecoms Package", recently agreed upon by European lawmakers, fails to protect the egalitarian nature of the Internet. Urgent action is needed at the European level to enforce Net neutrality once and for all.

Dogmatic IPR enforcement fails to address the challenges of the Internet-based creative economy

La Quadrature du Net's response to the European Commission's communication on “Enhancing the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the internal market
COM(2009) 467

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?

Amendment 138 - Legalese for Progress, not political weakness

Tonight, a conciliation committee meeting will take place between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. Both institutions will try to resolve their year-long dispute over amendment 138 by considering a worthless compromise proposal.

In the past days, some Members of the Parliament have been convinced to depart from the strong protection for the freedom of expression and communication granted by amendment 138. They bought the arguments put forward by the Council, as well as the Parliament's own legal services who conducted a biased analysis at the request of rapporteurs Catherine Trautmann and Alejo Vidal-Quadras. According to amendment 138 opponents, the European treaties do not allow the Parliament to require that Member States adapt their judicial system to better protect European citizens. However, case law seems to indicate that this is just an abusive argument aimed at concealing their political timidity.

Amendment 138, provides that “no restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end-users, without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities”.

"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)

An evolution of "amendment 138"

Here is a comparison chart of the different versions of "amendment 138" along the whole co-decision procedure.







Denomination Wording of the text Quick analysis and references

Original amendment 138 voted on Sept 24th 2008

, 8.4.g of the Framework directive, tabled by Bono (PSE, FR), Cohn-Bendit (Greens, FR) and Roithova (EPP, CZ)