The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.
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
A just-formed lobbying group of content producers, equipment makers and internet gatekeepers said Thursday that internet service providers should embrace filtering.
Behind the lobby are AT&T, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, NBC Universal, Viacom and the Songwriters Guild of America. Among other things, the lobby, called Arts+Labs, says "network operators must have the flexibility to manage and expand their networks to defend against net pollution and illegal file-trafficking which threatens to congest and delay the network for all consumers."
Running the new lobby is Mike McCurry, President Clinton's press secretary and departing chairman of Hands off the Internet, a group of telcos and others opposing net neutrality.
Still, network-level filtering technology isn't ready for prime time. And it remains to be seen whether filtering could account for fair use or could decipher whether copyright material along a network was authorized to be there.
(FCC said) "We also note that because consumers are entitled to access the lawful internet content of their choice, providers, consistent with federal policy, may block transmissions of illegal content (e.g., child pornography) or transmissions that violate copyright law. To the extent, however, that providers choose to utilize practices that are not application- or content-neutral, the risk to the open nature of the internet is particularly acute and the danger of network-management practices being used to further anti-competitive ends is strong."
Swedens EU parliamentary delegation is rejoicing following a decision by the body to toss out a proposal that would have banned file sharers from the internet and forced internet service providers to filter content in the hunt for pirated material.
Whats important about this decision is that now its clear that you cant force [internet service] providers to ban people from the internet without a legal process, said Moderate Party EU parliamentarian Christofer Fjellner to the TT news agency. Fjellner had been a fierce opponent of the proposal, which was part of a larger reform package passed by the EU parliament on Wednesday to boost competition in the EU telecoms sector. While many of the proposed reforms were welcomed by the EU parliament because they were seen to benefit consumers, the proposal regarding file sharing was quite controversial, prompting a furious effort by EU parliamentarians from both ends of Swedens political spectrum to jettison the proposal. Eva-Britt Svensson of the Left Party also sits in the EU parliament and succeeded in moving the body to support an amendment requiring a legal process in suspected file sharing cases.
Still time to email your MEP regarding the Telecoms Package Amendments
There is still time to email / fax your Member of the European Parliament e.g. via WriteToThem.com, ahead of tomorrow's vote on some dubious amendments to some forthcoming European Union telecommunications and internet legislation.
See The Open Rights Group for details: ask your MEPs to vote for Telecom package amendments 133 and 138
La Quadrature du Net has a wiki with the Telecom Plenary Package Amendments in question.
Later this month, the European Parliament will debate the Telecoms Package, and with it three amendments that seriously affect the neutrality of the net in Europe. La Quadrature du Net has a briefing on the issue, while the European Greens are split on some of the details. Look out for more discussion of this over the coming weeks.