[MuniWireless] EU moves to protect users rights in piracy cases

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."