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Questions to Commissioner-designate Kroes on Net neutrality and freedoms in the digital age

La Quadrature du Net sent this letter to the members of the ITRE and CULT committees of the European Parliament to urge them to ask the following questions to Mrs. Kroes, Commissioner-designate for the Digital Agenda, during her hearing on Thursday, January 14th.

Every EU citizen concerned by freedoms in the digital environment is encouraged to call1 the members of the ITRE and CULT committees to make sure that Commissioner Kroes states her views on these important issues.

Dear Member of the ITRE/CULT Committee,

On Wednesday January 14th, you and your colleagues will conduct the audition of Commissioner Neelie Kroes. We ask you to take the opportunity of this important exchange of views between the European Parliament and the Commissioner-designate for the Digital Agenda to advocate for EU policies that enhance public welfare in the networked society by asking some specific questions.

We would be honored if these questions could help you as you inquire after Commissioner Barnier's commitment to European funding values: freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

Net Neutrality

  • According to you, what is the importance of the principle of network neutrality? Specifically, do you think there is a need for the European Union to mandate this principle to both fixed and wireless Internet Service Providers? As a Commissioner, what steps would you take to enforce the principle of Net neutrality in order to avoid restrictions of access to online resources imposed by operators?
  • What importance do you attach to preserving the limited liability of technical intermediaries (such as Internet Service Providers and hosting services)?

More info: http://www.laquadrature.net/en/Net_neutrality

Access to the Net, Internet blocking and Fundamental Rights

  • What can be the expectations for European consumers regarding their right to access the Internet? From a legal point of view, do you think it would make sense for the EU legal order to ensure that no restrictions to people's Internet access can be imposed without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities?
  • Does the Commissioner agree that Internet blocking is causing major problems for democracy and the rule of Law in the EU and across the globe? In your view, are such measures an efficient way to enforce criminal law?

ACTA

  • What are your views on the ongoing negotiation process of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)?
  • Do you think that this agreement should include provisions regarding non-commercial file-sharing?
  • Do you think that this agreement should increase the liability of technical intermediaries for the transmission or storage of copyrighted material?

More info: http://www.laquadrature.net/en/ACTA

Copyright

  • Should copyright enforcement policies be put in place through voluntary agreements between rights holders and Internet Service Providers? Specifically, what do you see as the dangers to free speech and privacy of copyright enforcement policies put in place through such voluntary agreements?
  • At WIPO, the United States recently stated that copyright exceptions are important for access to information, cultural expression and ideas and to ensure full participation in a democratic society. Currently, the EU framework has no mandatory exceptions apart from technical purpose. Do you think that current (non-mandatory) exceptions to copyright in EU legislation are adapted to today's technologies? Will you stand for a EU-wide compulsory exception for education and research (in the sense of an exception that must be implemented in every Member state)? Would it be reasonable to move towards creating a statutory license to allow the non-commercial exchange of cultural goods over the network, such as the so-called “cultural flat rate”, or “contribution créative”?
  • Which initiative would you undertake to increase European citizen's access to cultural content on the Internet? How would you help increase the diversity of works accessible online? How do you think the EU can further support incumbent and innovative actors on the online cultural market?
  • Is the EU's push in favor of copyright terms extension something that you intend to pursue as a Commissioner? What is your opinion on the effect that retroactive term extensions may have on the market for cultural works? Does it increase the incentive to invest in new creations, does it have the opposite effect, or does it have no market influence at all?
  • Do you think that a unified patent litigation system shoult be set-up in the EU? If such a system were to be put in place, do you think it is necessary that a higher court be granted the power to review decisions and to set patent-related case law?

Philippe Aigrain, Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, Benjamin Sonntag, Jérémie Zimmermann.
Co-founders of La Quadrature du Net.

  • 1. Through these links, you have access to the contact information of all the relevant MEPs, including their phone numbers (phone numbers can be automatically called upon click using a VoIP application).