On Tuesday, the CULT committee (the part of the European Parliament responsible for culture and education) is voting on what needs to be done to support the "Cultural Industries" in Europe. The report, headed by Member of European Parliament Guy Bono, started off well - but the music industry have stuck in several hand-grenade amendments that could mess up European culture and the Internet for decades: They're pushing for ISPs spying on traffic, "dangerous" sites being blocked online AND copyright extension, all in one document!Link (Thanks, Danny!)
Here's the back-story. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has been lobbying Euro-parliamentarians to introduce ISP filtering and blocking across Europe, and pushed to get language supporting these ideas into this report. EFF briefed the committee members on why this would be a terrible idea for privacy, Europe ue process, free expression - and wouldn't work to stop infringement.
So now IFPI has changed tactics. A new amendment, number 82, has popped up, proposing EU-wide law that would extend EU copyright terms "to protect artists who risk seeing their work fall within the public domain in their lifetime, and to consider the competitive disadvantage posed by less generous protection terms in Europe than in the United States".
(The UK's Gowers report already put pay to both of these canards: artists hardly benefit from extensions 95 years after they recorded the song. And there's no "competitive advantage" when extending EU copyright terms means you're paying foreign rightsholders more by charging your own citizens extra.)
Europeans who would like their Internet free from constant monitoring for suspected infringement, and their cultural works not trapped in amber for nearly a century, write to your CULT committee members now. Phone numbers and email addresses are available on the Europarl site. Tell them to keep ISP filtering, site-blocking, AND copyright extension out of the Guy Bono Report, and out of Europe!
Update: My MEP, Tom Wise, wrote in to say this: "I am proud to have been the proposer of an amendment in July 2005 which scrapped the proposal for an EU software patent. What worried me then, and still does, was the response from an EU Commission official at the time. I quote, "Colleagues, we are disappointed, WE will just have to bring this back before a more acquiescent Parliament" I guess that this is part of that process.
"Please believe me, YES, I will vote against this and collaborate with whomsoever wants to join me to defeat it."