[P2P.net] Big Music vs The Winds of Change

Making laws in the European Union is a long, complicated and often tedious process that involves a delicate ballet featuring the Council of Ministers, the Parliament and the Commission.

Several amendments from British MEP Syed Kamall, a member of the Conservative group, have been criticised by those campaigning for a more open net, including a change to Article 21 (4a) that asks member states to oblige them to “distribute public interest information to existing and new subscribers when appropriate. Such information shall be produced by the relevant public authorities in a standardised format” and may include “Illegal uses of electronic communications networks” including infringement of copyright and related rights”

This reads like a call for a public information campaign, but observers like the UK-based Open Rights Group and the French-based La Quadrature du Net believe it would oblige ISPs to contact subscribers when they are accused of transmitting licensed content without permission, for example when using file-sharing networks or downloading from unauthorised sources.

Another amendment put forward by Kamall allows that ‘traffic data may be processed’ to ensure the security of a public electronic communication service’, which the campaigners read as giving carte blanche to the content providers to monitor and control what happens on the network on the grounds that copying files or breaking digital rights management counts as a ’security’ breach.