The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.
The European Commission and deputies of the European Parliament have been discussing amendments to the Telecom Package recently and one of the amendments to the original text is Amendment 138 on the right of end users charged with content piracy to a full and fair judicial review: "No restriction may be 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, except when public security is threatened, in which case a judicial ruling may be rendered subsequently."
Opponents of content filtering and the law of "gradual retaliation" (a controversial law being considered in France which prohibits the delivery of pirated content on the Internet) considered this to be a victory for end users. The amendment prohibits an EU member from calling an administrative authority instead of a judicial authority to solve problems of piracy.
During a press conference after the vote, Guy Bono, a French European Deputy who was among the three authors of the amendment 138 said, focusing on the French government: "You cannot fool around with individual freedoms. The French government will have to rewrite the `gradual retaliation' law."
This week, in the French daily newspaper "Liberation" published the copy of a letter supposedly sent by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Jose Manuel Baroso, President of the European Commission, approving of the work of the Commission in a project called "Online Creative Content", to be presented to the European Parliament next year. Sarkozy adds: "It is crucial for the Commission to be vigilant to threats coming the European Parliament during the first vote of the third "Telecom Package". It is especially fundamental that the amendment 138 be rejected by the Commission. This amendment tries to prevent States from applying an intelligent strategy against piracy."
In a conference in Nice, where Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for information society was speaking about the internet of things, she said that: "The Telecom Package has nothing to do with the content. It is only about infrastructure."
Regarding the "online creative content" project, she added: "We have a vision of freedom on the Internet, freedom of access for Internet users and protecting the author rights." She reminded people that the role of the Commission is only to prepare legislative proposals. "It is to the Parliament and to the Council of Ministers to make the law."
Everybody knew that when the French under N. Sarkozy assumed Presidency of the Council strange things would happen. Indeed, Aigrain mocked it in his blog. Sarkozy intervened at Commissioner Reding or precisely at the Commission president not to accept Amendment 138 of the Trautmann report (Telecom Package) which was voted by Parliament. The Sarkozy "short circuit" didn't succeed. Good for constitutional reasons.
This version of the amendment was adopted by the European Parliament in an open vote with a large majority of 573 votes in favour and 74 votes against. The European Commission respects this democratic decision of the European Parliament. In the Commission's view, this amendment is an important restatement of key legal principles inherent in the legal order of the European Union, especially of citizens' fundamental rights.
La Commissione europea ha risposto con un netto "no" oggi a Bruxelles alla richiesta del presidente Sarkozy di bocciare la posizione dell'Europarlamento contro un progetto di legge francese per la protezione della propriet intellettuale su internet. La nuova legge, che dovrebbe essere approvata entro l'anno, attribuirebbe all'authority di regolazione nazionale delle Tlc il potere di monitorare il traffico via internet e tagliare il collegamento alla rete di presunti 'pirat scoperti a scaricare abusivamente film, musica e qualunque altro contenuto coperto dal diritto d'autore. Il 24 settembre scorso, nell'ambito del pi generale 'pacchetto telecom', il Parlamento europeo ha approvato una sorta di 'censura preventiv nei riguardi di questo progetto di legge, approvando a grandissima maggioranza (573 voti contro 74) l'emendamento 138 in cui si chiede ai regolatori nazionali di applicare il principio secondo il quale, salvo che in caso di minaccia per la pubblica sicurezza, nessuna restrizione pu essere imposta sui diritti e le libert fondamentali degli utenti finali, senza la previa autorizzazione delle autorit giudiziarie, segnatamente in accordo con l'Art.
von Simon Muller
Let it be clear that as the Commissioner for Information Society & Media, one of my key concerns is to ensure that the internet remains open from the point of view of service providers wanting to deliver new, innovative services, AND open from the point of view of consumers wanting to access the services of their choice and create the content of their choice.
But we must recognise that openness for innovation sometimes cannot exclude legitimate network management practices. For instance, traffic prioritisation can sometimes be an important driver of value and growth for operators. The Commission's vision of an open and competitive digital market does allow for traffic prioritisation, especially for providing more innovative services or managing networks effectively. We have to allow network providers to experiment with different consumer offerings. In the end, it will be up to the consumers to decide to change to a provider that offers them what they would like.
For the future, the Commission has proposed, in its review of the Telecoms package, to create the possibility of setting minimum quality levels for network transmission services based on technical standards identified at EU level.
The European Union has avoided controversy (but annoyed the French) by voting no to a policy that would have seen internet users cut for illegally downloading copyright material from the internet. The "three strikes and you're out" policy is already being adopted in France, policed by the country's internet service providers.
EU officials did, however, vote in the third and final amendment, which concerned the importance of people to have access to digital content.
France's much talked about "three strikes" law receive a spirited non! from the European Parliament this week, but French and EU officials are already claiming that the vote won't ultimately impact so-called "graduated response" schemes.
The EU Parliament voted Wednesday to pass the "Telecom Package," [...]
Hundreds of amendments were tabled, making the entire legislative process difficult to follow, but two of the key changes proposed were Amendments 133 and 138. As the UK's Open Rights Group points out, 133 would have prevented EU countries from requiring local ISPs to filter content.
138, introduced by a French Socialist MEP Guy Bono (who gets extra points in our book for that moustache) would have prevented any action against Internet users without prior judicial intervention. In other words, Bono insisted that courts need to be involved in any disconnection procedure--exactly the sort of slow process backers of graduated response plans hope to avoid.
It was only a matter of hours before the spin began. Interest in this question is obviously keen in France, and papers like Libration went to the French government for a response. The Minister of Culture, Christine Albanel, told the paper that amendment 138 would probably turn out to have no real bearing on France's proposed three strikes rule.
Why not? The answer became clear when EU Commissioner Viviane Reding, who spearheaded the telecom reforms, announced her hope to force the removal of the amendment by the Commission. Advocacy group La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net) called this unacceptable, saying that it was "a completely unsuitable request from Mrs. Reding, under the basic democratic principle recalled in the amendment (i.e. the separation of powers), but also under the parliamentary plebiscite it collected (574 MEPs for, 73 against)."
Various readers are sending in good news from Europe on the rights front. First, at the EU level, Mark.J brings word that the European Parliament has canned a number of controversial amendments to its updated Telecoms Package, which could have resulted in ISPs being forced to disconnect customers for involvement in illegal file-sharing of copyrighted material.
Finally, from Sweden, an update on the draconian so-called Lex Orwell, which would have effectively resulted in the routine wiretapping of the entire nation. Eric Blair sends a link on an agreement reached between the Swedish parliament and the sitting government on a new form for the controversial signals intelligence law. Supposedly, the sting has been taken out of the law: only the department of defense and the cabinet may request data, and they'll have to get court approval for it.
Propaganda is probably too light of a term to describe this piece of propaganda.
We're referring to an educational comic strip (fat .pdf) on unlawful file sharing of music developed by judges and professors to teach students about the law and the courtroom experience.
It was produced by the National Center for State Courts, a nonprofit describing itself as an "organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to court systems in the United States."
But the story line here is a miscarriage of justice at best -- even erroneously describing file sharing as a city crime punishable by up to two years in prison.
"The purpose is basically to educate kids -- middle school and high school-aged about how the justice system operates and about what really goes on in the courtroom as opposed to what you see on television," said Lorri Montgomery, the center's communications director.
What happened with the "Telecoms Package" (that I have mentioned here and here)? It seems that most of the worrying amendments regarding copyright issues (especially the three strikes approach) were not adopted by the European Parliament. A detailed analysis by La Quadrature du Net will be published in the next days. However, it was an impressive example of digital citizen lobbyism. If you read German head over to netzpolitik.org and heise.de. EurActiv has a long and rather general article on the whole initiative. But it is true: the Internet is rather quiet about this success in the European Parliament as A Fistful of Euros notes. Bashing the EU is much easier, I guess.
"The European Parliament adopted in first reading yesterday, the 24th of September, the Telecom Package
"Although the European Parliament argues that consumers are the real winners of this Package being adopted, the Telecom Package has unfortunately been used by several MEPs to introduce a new line of intervention against filesharing on the Internet", commented Marina Barbalata, Co-Spokesperson of the Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG). "This measure is only one step from the criminalisation of young people, the main group of Internet filesharing users. This vote, based on the total misunderstanding of the Web 2.0 by some MEPs, may lead to the loss of basic civil liberties and rights in the virtual world - the right to copy for private use in particular. Such a measure can prevent the success of innovative filesharing softwares for universities, scientists and libraries. I strongly doubt this really is to the benefit of the European consumer.", continued Marina Barbalata.
- Harbour Report as approved in the EP on September 24th
- Analysis of the dangerous amendments by Digital Rights activists La Quadrature du Net