Propositions

La Quadrature du Net's presents its proposals to adapt public policy to the technological and social realities of the Internet (pdf). Following three axes, they aim to ensure that this shared network remains a tool serving our society's democratic and socio-economic development. These proposals can only be discussed and, even more so, turned into reality if we can secure the democratic nature of our institutions. Notably, this calls for the public debate to be based on transparent and open information.

Another page is dedicated to the proposals of La Quadrature du Net for the reform of copyright and related cultural policies (pdf). A platform of exchange open to everyone and containing some of these proposals has also been established with other organizations, to discuss and construct an action plan for reform the copyright.

Human Rights in the Digital Society

Freedom of communication and expression is of prime importance in the democratic order. It is what makes possible exchanging the ideas, opinions and information that shape our world vision; it is the foundation of free societies. The Internet is a technical and political disruption in that it gives everyone the ability to send and receive any information. In order to keep the scope of possibilities open, freedom of communication and other fundamental rights must be strictly protected on the Internet. Guaranteeing these rights requires the full application of the rule of Law to the online public sphere.

Guarantee the presumption of legality for all online publication

  • Any filtering obligation aiming to prevent the publication of online content must be rejected as a disproportionate infringement on freedom of expression.
  • Content takedown procedures must be strictly supervised so that freedom of expression prevails.
  • Every citizen must be sufficiently informed of takedown requests regarding his or her content in order to, if needed, oppose them and endorse full legal liability.
Please refer to La Quadrature's answer to the EU consultation on the Online Services Directive. Also read the conclusions of the UN rapporteur for freedom of opinion and expression.

Ensure the right to a fair trial

  • Any sanction imposed by public authorities which limit freedom of expression can only be imposed after a due process.
  • Such measures should respect the proportionality and efficiency principles. These criteria should exclude filtering and blocking of online content.
Here again, see our answer to the consultation on the Information Society Services Directive. See also a study from leading Europeans legal analysts on blocking measures and our memorandum sent to the French constitutional Council about the LOPPSI 2 law (in French).

Rethink the limits of freedom of expression in a renewed public sphere

  • Prosecutions against people criticizing public authority or its representatives go against the democratic ideal (defamation, right to oblivion, etc). Now that everybody can express themselves online, some traditional legal provisions regulating public discourse may have lost some of their relevance.
  • The possibility of communicating anonymously on the Internet must be guaranteed.

Access to a Free and Open Internet

Internet and its socio-economic benefits grew out of simple technical principles that must be protected. The most important is undoubtedly the network's decentralized nature. This architecture maximizes freedom of communication, and therefore freedom of expression and online innovation. More generally, we need policies that give people the capacity to create, exchange with their peers and access a greater variety of informational goods.

Enshrine Net neutrality in law

  • Lawmakers need to adopt a legal definition of the Internet that is based on the neutrality principle, in order to ensure the sustainability of its technical architecture.
  • The neutrality principle must apply to all Internet networks, regardless of access mode (landline or wireless). Exceptions to this principle in case of unforeseen congestion of security threat over the network must be carefully crafted and overseen.
  • Infringements to Net neutrality carried out by operators must be subject to dissuasive sanctions.
  • The balance between co-existing so-called "managed services" and the Internet on communications networks must be sustainable, in order to protect the quality of Internet access.
  • The use of packet inspection technologies must be regulated in order to protect the privacy of electronic communications and their integrity.
For more information, see the April 2011 parliamentary report on Net neutrality, and our answer to the European consultation on the matter.

Encourage the development of shared wireless networks

  • Radio spectrum must become a public resource once again, through the opening of new frequency bands to license-exempt access, building on the WiFi footsteps.
  • We need to rapidly experiment the use of new radio technologies allowing the deployment of shared wireless networks (such as smart radio technologies and femtocells).
  • People who share Internet wireless networks must be able to do so in all legal certainty.
For more information, read the Op-Ed “The Spectrum Of Our Freedoms” and the presentation of the Open Wireless Movement.

Support the development of servers and terminals controlled by users

  • In order to avoid any competition distortion, regulators must ensure that terminals are interoperable with different operating systems.
  • Public authorities must support the use of free software, particularly in the context of procurements.
  • Essential network resources, such as servers, should be made more accessible in order to ensure the decentralized nature of Internet.
Regarding the promotion of free software, please see April's recommendations (in French). Also see Eben Moglen's presentation of the “Freedom Box” project.

Sharing of Culture and Knowledge

The Internet and digital technologies allow everyone to share digital information. Editing and modifying artworks (remix) is becoming a new mean of expression for a whole generation. Intellectual rights on information, whatever the information, have to adapt to this new context so as to encourage access and contribution to culture and knowledge. This requires putting an end to the war on sharing and adopting policies that allow the re-appropriation of culture and knowledge by the public.

To ensure that everyone among us able to benefit from the opportunities set up by the digital era, we have to reform the copyright. La Quadrature du Net's platform of proposals provides a detailed analysis of key stakes, and tables a consistent set of proposals for a reform of copyright and related culture and media policy issues.

Recognize sharing in law and in practice

  • The legitimacy of not-for-profit sharing of cultural works between individuals should be recognized. Culture sharing should be placed outside of the scope of copyright, e.g. through the creation of a new exception.
  • Digital Rights Management and other anti-copy devices should be abandonned. They must to be ruled illegal when they prevent legal uses of cultural works.
  • Sharing technologies, such as peer-to-peer software, should be able to develop in legal certainty.

For more information, please read the item on non-market sharing in our platform of proposals, “Sharing: Culture and the Economy in the Internet Age” from Philippe Aigrain and the live site for the book. For a shorter format see his article on the legitimacy of sharing. See also La Quadrature's response to the EU consultation on the future of the Cultural Economy. Lastly, regarding the prohibition of Digital Rights Management abusive uses, see the former Brazilian Copyright Bill.

Explore new funding models for creation, information, and the media

  • It is time to create a “creative contribution” in order to help fund creation and public expression in the digital age, pooled among all Internet users and contributors.
  • A publicly accountable and independent watchdog should be established to analyse the data voluntarily provided by the public and define distribution keys.
  • Collected funds will reward authors and creators (including, of course, those releasing their works under free licenses). They will also help fund new productions.
  • Finally, it is necessary to enable the development of innovative business models by facilitating the commercial distribution of copyrighted works over the Internet.

Our proposals for new models of financing of digital culture are detailed in our platform of proposals. Besides Philippe Agrain's works, see the Free Culture Forum's guide.

Reinforce the public domain and make cultural heritage available to everyone

  • After years of baseless policies in this field, it is necessary to return to a reasonable length of term of protection for both author's rights and neighbouring rights.
  • Public authorities must commit to a ambitious policy in favor of open data.
  • We need to rethink the digitisation of our cultural heritage and to support a distributed model allowing everyone to contribute to these cultural policies.

For more information, see our platform of proposals, the The Public Domain Manifesto and La Quadrature du Net's answer to the consultation on the Digitisation of the European Cultural Heritage. On open data, see the work of Regard Citoyens (in French).

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