News

Copyright: EU Commission Invokes Crisis to Stick to Repression

Paris, 16 April 2013 — The EU Commission is not yet ready to change course on copyright policy. With the release of two new roadmap documents1 on copyright, patent and trademark policy, the EU body who negotiated ACTA decides to stick to the status quo. And ironically invokes the crisis to urge for more of the same broken policies.

EU Copyright: We Need Actions, Not Consultations!

Paris, 29 March 2013 — Two years after a first consultation, the European Commission is conducting yet-another public consultation on the “Civil enforcement of intellectual property rights”, essentially on the IPRED directive1. Many aspects of this new consultation are similar to the previous one, and call for similar answers. La Quadrature du Net therefore re-sent its previous submission and denounces a process aiming at buying time to delay any debate on the urgent need to reform copyright.

  • 1. IPRED (Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive) is an EU directive organizing the repression of infringements of copyrights, patents, trademarks, etc. Because of its overreaching nature, IPRED harms access to culture, and hampers new cultural practices such as remixing, but also the development of new technologies and innovation in general.

Will You Let Protection of Your Data Go Down the Drain?

Brussels, 19 March 2013 — The “Legal Affairs” (JURI) Committee, the fourth and last one on this matter, had just voted its opinion on the European Commission's proposal of data protection regulation, led by Marielle Gallo (France - EPP). With this latest opinion vote, slightly less catastrophic than the previous ones, the European Parliament weakened once again the protection of citizen's personal data. Members of the four committees who gave their opinion chose to side with giant US corporations such as Facebook and Google that collect, process and trade data about our everyday life. Citizen mobilization is slowly starting to bear fruit, yet it must be tremendously amplified before the crucial vote of the main “Civil Liberties” (LIBE) Committee -[EDIT: probably on 29 May]- on its report.

No Copyright in EU-US Trade Agreement!

IP out of TAFTA

Civil Society Declaration released by 47 European and International organisations, to exclude from the upcoming Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) any provisions related to patents, copyright, trademarks, data protection, geographical indications, or other forms of so-called “intellectual property”.

Net Neutrality Neutralised in France?

Paris, 12 March 2013 — Questioned by the French government on the need to legislate on the protection of freedoms on the Internet, the National Digital Council (Conseil national du numérique or CNNum) published today an opinion on Net neutrality1 [fr]. It recommends that the French government makes this principle of non-discrimination into law, broadening its scope to include search engines and other online services. But by overbroadening the neutrality principle, the CCNum's recommendations could result in a meaningless law.

  • 1. Net neutrality, or network neutrality, is a founding principle of the Internet which guarantees that telecoms operators do not discriminate online content, services or applications, be it according to the source, the recipient, or the nature of the information being transmitted. This principle ensures that all users, whatever their resources, access the same and whole network, and makes freedom of communication and innovation possible.

Data Protection: Last Opinion Vote in JURI on 19 March

Paris, 11 March 2013 — Revision of the European Data Protection Regulation is ongoing and the “Legal Affairs” (JURI) Committee will vote on its opinion on 19 March. Unfortunately, there are strong indications that JURI will vote in the same way as the previous committees and weaken the protection of EU citizens' privacy against corporations that collect, process and trade their personal data. With only one week left before the vote, citizens must act urgently and contact their members of the European Parliament (MEP).

Freedoms Online in France: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

Paris, 28 February 2013 — Following an intergovernmental seminar on digital policy [fr], French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced a law “on the protection of digital rights and freedoms” for early 2014. While this announcement offers hope for the defense of freedoms online, recent statements made by members of the French government suggest it is not yet ready to break away from the repressive trend initiated by its predecessors.

Hadopi and Internet Intermediaries: No to a French ACTA!

Paris, 26 February 2013 – Hadopi, the French "three strikes" administration, released yesterday a report [fr] on the fight against streaming and direct download sites. It advocates for the establishment of measures bearing a close resemblance to those of ACTA and the US SOPA bill, both shelved following a strong citizen mobilization for the defense of fundamental freedoms. Currently confined to the fight against file sharing between individuals, Hadopi now wants to extend its control to Internet intermediaries such as hosting services, search engines, Internet service providers or online payment services. Doing so, could only lead them to actively monitor content shared on the Net, with unavoidable collateral damage to freedom of expression, the protection of privacy and the right to a fair trial.

Citizens' Privacy Jeopardized in EU Parliament Committees Again

*** UPDATE [01/03]: see the opinion of the ITRE committee on the proposal for a regulation on the protection of personal data ***

Paris, 21 February 2013 — One month after the terrible opinion vote of the “Consumers” (IMCO) Committee, MEPs from the “Industry” (ITRE) committee, and to a lesser extent from the “Employment” (EMPL) one, have also voted to weaken protection of EU citizens' privacy. In the ITRE committee, because of the support of Members of the liberal (ALDE) group, conservatives' amendments lifting restrictions on the collection, processing and resale of citizens' personal data by companies have been adopted. Before the “Legal Affairs” (JURI) committee's opinion vote1 and the main, crucial, “Civil Liberties” (LIBE) committee's report vote2, citizens should act and urge their MEPs to break away from big corporations' lobbying and to protect their fundamental right to privacy.

  • 1. Scheduled for the 18-19th March 2013
  • 2. Scheduled for the 24-25th April 2013

EU Parliament: Will Liberals (ALDE) Weaken Privacy in Industry Committee?

Paris, 20 February 2013 — While the “Industry” (ITRE) committee is about to vote on its opinion regarding data protection regulation, it is now clear that the outcome will depend on the Members of the liberal ALDE group. They will have to choose between allowing full-on exploitation of our personal data or imposing tough safeguards to protect our fundamental right to privacy. Citizens must act today 20 February before 4pm and urge their MEPs to defend the general interest by choosing the latter.

All-out Lobbying in the EP to Sell Our Privacy: Act Now!

*** UPDATE — 18 February 2013: publication of the "compromise amendments" dated February 18th ***

Paris, 13 February 2013 — After the US corporations' victory in the European Parliament's “Consumer” committee (IMCO) in late January, more committees will cast their opinion votes on the data protection regulation next week1. As lobbying pressure from industrial actors intensifies, La Quadrature du Net publishes the “compromise amendments” currently negotiated in the “Industry” (ITRE) Committee to illustrate how the protection of our privacy is under attack. Citizens must react by urging Members of the Parliament to impose tough safeguards against the commercialization of our private lives and behaviour online.

  • 1. The Industry (ITRE) committee will vote on its opinion on the 20th February, and the Employment (EMPL) committee will vote on its one the 21st February.

ACTA, CETA, TAFTA: Is De Gucht Again Trying to Impose Anti-democratic Repression?

Paris, 7 February 2013 – Commissioner De Gucht is currently in Canada, trying to conclude CETA, the Canada-EU Trade Agreement. Meanwhile, he has started negotiating with the US on TAFTA, a new US-EU "trade agreement". La Quadrature du Net recalls that there is still no credible evidence to suggest that ACTA-like criminal sanctions and repressive copyright provisions damaging a free Internet were removed from CETA, and it is likely that they will appear in TAFTA. Karel De Gucht, who several times lied openly to the public and the European Parliament during the ACTA debate, might once again push for repressive measures undermining fundamental freedoms, under the cover of trade agreements. Citizens must remain watchful and denounce this growing trend.

The EU Commission's Outrageous Attempt to Avoid Copyright Reform

Brussels, 4 February 2013 — Today starts “Licences for Europe”, an initiative by the European Commission to discuss the issues of today's copyright regime. Instead of planning for a broad reform that would break away with full-on repression of cultural practices based on sharing and remixing, the Commission is setting up a parody of a debate. 75% of the participants to the working-group concerning “users” are affiliated with the industry1 and the themes and objectives are defined so as to ensure that the industry has its way and that nothing will change. Through this initiative, the EU Commission shows its contempt of the many citizens who participated in defeating ACTA and are still mobilized against repressive policies.

US Corporations Win Against Privacy in EU Parliament Consumer Committee

*** UPDATE [04/02]: see the opinion of the IMCO committee on the proposal for a regulation on the protection of personal data ***

*** UPDATE [30/01]: see the amendments adopted by the IMCO committee ***

Paris, 23 January 2013 — The “consumer” (IMCO) committee of the European Parliament just voted to soften protection of EU citizens' privacy, caving in to the lobbying of giant US companies1. This is the first of many upcoming votes and tells us a lot about the balance of powers in the Parliament. It should act as a wake up call for citizens to defend their right to privacy against the illegitimate collection, process and trade of their personal data.

Alert: Our Privacy About to be Destroyed in Brussels?

Paris, 22 January 2013 — The consideration of the "data protection" privacy regulation is in progress in the European Parliament, with a vote in the consumers committee (IMCO) on Wednesday. It is the object of an unprecedented lobbying campaign, mostly driven by US companies. If citizens don't act, banks, insurance companies and Internet service operators will have a free hand to collect, process, store and sell all of our personal data, which will enable them to know and direct all that we do online and offline.

Net Neutrality: Neelie Kroes Yields to Operator Pressure

Paris, 17 January 2013 — In an Op-Ed in Libération (in French), Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Internet-related policies, can be found giving in to telecom operator pressure and giving up on Net Neutrality. Ms. Kroes supports the creation of a fragmented Internet, banning innovation and opening the door to unacceptable censorship.

Net Neutrality in France: Is Minister Fleur Pellerin of Any Use?

Paris, 15 January 2013 — The disappointment after the round table organized by the French Minister Fleur Pellerin on Net Neutrality was predictable. The debate only served to cover up the Minister's inaction. Evading the issue by referring it to an obscure committee, the Minister postpones again any ambitions for a draft law protecting citizens.

Net Access Restrictions: What is the French Government doing?

Paris, 14 January 2013 — The blocking of ads by French ISP Free serves as a strong reminder of the urgent necessity to ban Net access restrictions by operators. As a presidential candidate, François Hollande promised to guarantee Net neutrality and all evidence of immediate need for action is now on the table. Will Minister Fleur Pellerin commit to quickly presenting a draft law during tomorrow's roundtable on the issue?

EU Parliament Calls For Action Against Net Access Restrictions

Paris, December 11th, 2012 — Today, the EU Parliament adopted two important resolutions underlining its commitment to protecting and promoting rights and freedoms on the Internet, especially on the issue of Net neutrality. La Quadrature du Net welcomes this vote by EU lawmakers, and urges the EU Commission as well as Member States to follow suit by enacting legislation to protect freedoms online and foster democracy as well as innovation.

Datalove USBs calling for Copyright Reform for each Member of the EU Parliament

Brussels, 27 November – La Quadrature du Net is distributing to each Member of the European Parliament a “datalove USB drive”, loaded with music, movies and books urging them to adapt copyright to our cultural practices. After the historic victory against ACTA, it is now time to break away from the repressive logic that harms our freedoms and the way we build and share culture, and reform copyright.