Europe! Stop ISP spying, website blocking AND copyright extension with one call!

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17 Responses to “Europe! Stop ISP spying, website blocking AND copyright extension with one call!”

  1. Brother Phil says:

    I’ve had a similar comment from him, so he’s hopefully solid.

  2. Georgia Tills says:

    Protect the artists!

    Start by protecting them from predatory companies. Establish a minimum % of what the artists would get from the sale of their records.

  3. Gemma says:

    None of the British peeps are representatives for my particular constituency, so I emailed them all.

    My message was no where near as lucid or cogent as those above, but every voice counts I hope.

    As an aside: I was sort of charmed by their names (Heaton-Harris, Wise, Dover, Kilroy-Silk, Honeyball). I think I need to bring more imagination to bear when naming characters/imaginary people. No more “Mr A N Other” for me. :)

  4. red says:

    Christopher Heaton-Harris lists a fully paid 5 star trip to the USA courtesy of the most right wing of lobbying organisations ALEC (http://alecwatch.org/), so I wouldn’t hold out much hope from his side of the desk.

  5. GiantSnowman says:

    I like this one much better:

    Amendment by Erna Hennicot-Schoepges
    Amendment 85
    Paragraph 9 a (new)
    9a. Calls on the Commission to recognise that, as a result of the Internet, traditional
    ways of using cultural products and services have completely changed and that it is
    essential to ensure unimpeded access to online cultural content and to the diversity
    of cultural expressions, over and above what is driven by an industrial and
    commercial logic, ensuring moreover, fair remuneration that is equitably divided
    between all categories of rights holders;

    And I can’t even vote for her!

  6. guydickinson says:

    I’ve also mailed the clutch of UK MEPs with the following (gratefully edited from Kieran O’Niell’s email):

    ========

    Dear

    I take a keen interest in issues regarding Intellectual Property, in particular to how IP is currently being scrutinised and potentially amended within the arena of EU law.

    As a listed member of CULT, I’m emailing you to outline my opposition to the amendment 82 of paragraph 9a of the Guy Bono Report, helpfully listed here:

    http://www.eff.org/issues/eff-europe/bono-cult-amendments#Paragraph_9a_.28new.29

    In particular, I’m concerned about the section:

    “9a. Calls on the Commission to propose a directive designed 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;”

    I understand you have received emails from others who share my concerns – its rare that I spend time ploughing through EU reports, but this amendment is creeping protectionism for media companies which, has been pointed out in last year’s Gowers report, is not needed, as such an extension of copyright conveys negligible benefits to individual artists.

    The extension of copyright also stifles creativity by restricting the creation of derivative works, and restricts public access to archival materials with cultural and educational value.

    There seems to have been several completely inappropriate and pernicious amendments slipped into that report – I’m glad to see that the proposal for Internet Service providers to filter traffic has been redacted, for example.

    I think a previous email that I understand was sent to you on the same, perhaps says it best:

    “Finally, the tone of the amendment suggests that the EU has a moral obligation to follow the lead of the United States in creating legislation. This carries a dangerous, implicit assumption that all laws passed by the United States are automatically morally just and appropriate to a European context.
    Allowing this amendment to enter the report would set a dangerous precedent for future European legislation, as it could promote the creation of laws that will benefit only record companies, and not the creators and consumers of culture.”

    I would implore you to vote to have amendment 82 deleted from the report, for the good of European culture, and not bow to the lobbying pressures of media companies trying to pollute the rich cultural diversity and perfectly adequate, existing legal framework on copyright terms.

    Sincerely,

  7. Gemma says:

    Kilroy-Silk just emailed me to say:

    “Thank you for you email regarding ‘Intellectual Property’. As a matter of principal I vote against all EU directives.”

    Hmmmm.

  8. madjo says:

    I don’t know about you guys, but I am sick and tired of these media moguls thinking they can trample all over our rights, if only to increase the copyright, and to ‘protect’ their ancient business models.

    But I feel so powerless, the politicians (especially the European government ones) have a smell of corruption surrounding them, and the public is left standing in the corner.
    No matter how hard we fight and how often we try to get these stupid ideas off the table, the big companies get it back on the table.

    Just look at the theatre that is “software patents” in Europe. They even tried to have a commission on farming subsidies(!) have a vote on the matter.

    I almost prefer anarchy over these puppets.
    Guy Bono, are you really that dim, to claim that this will in fact work?
    The government should (ideally) be representatives of the public, but so far, I have seen none actually represent the public. (not in The Netherlands, not in the States and not in the European government)
    And then the politicians are surprised when people don’t show up to vote. What’s the point, they are all in the pocket of large (mostly American) businesses anyway, and right after the election they all forget what they stood for during the election.

  9. bmcollier says:

    I’m sure British readers will be delighted to hear that our representatives on this matter are Kilroy and a former Football ref.

  10. madjo says:

    I’ve sent my two reps an email.

    Let’s hope that the European government still listens to the public.

  11. Cory Doctorow says:

    I just rang every single UK MEP on this and found that all, save one, were entirely sympathetic to my arguments. TH Wise was especially receptive to this. I think that we can kill this with some reasoned phone calls. Here’s what I sent to Mary Honeyball:

    Dear Ms Honeyball:

    I write to you today to offer my opinion on an upcoming vote that you
    face with the CULT committee: to approve or deny Amendment 82 to the Guy
    Bono Report.

    I ask that you vote to turn down this amendment. Below, I offer my
    reasoning for this.

    I am a former NGO delegate to the UN’s World Intellectual Property
    Organisation, and I am a full-time creator — a novelist and web-writer
    whose copyrights supply me with my whole income today.

    As a creator and as a copyright expert, I believe that adding an
    additional 45 years of copyright to the term for phonograms is bad for
    creativity and bad for the arts. As the Exchequer’s economists found in
    last year’s Gowers Report, there is virtually no economic value in
    granting an additional 45 years of copyright to performers (memorably,
    one economist described the net present value of the 51st through 95th
    year of copyright as “lower than the net present value of a lottery
    ticket”).

    Rather than protect artists, adding years to the term of copyright
    merely serves to doom the majority of artists to the scrapheap of
    history, as no one can figure out whom to license these ancient
    recordings from in order to give them new life. This has been of major
    concern in the US, where the term for phonograms already endures for 95
    years — the Supreme Court found in Eldred V. Ashcroft that an
    astounding *ninety-eight percent of copyrights* are “orphan works” with
    no visible owner. It is likely that all known copies of these works will
    expire before their copyright does. This inspired the Library of
    Congress to hold hearings on Orphan Works, which have yet to produce any
    positive motion to redress this externality arising from poorly
    considered copyright legislation.

    The other dire effect of prolonging copyright is that it raises the cost
    for follow-on artists who would take older works and remix and reuse
    them to make vibrant new forms of art (just as The Beatles remixed the
    I-IV-V progression of black Delta blues artists to make their early
    rock-n-roll). These garage creators don’t have the wherewithal to
    determine whom they should license 75-year-old recordings from, nor do
    they have the money to pay the fees: thus does the dead hand of
    copyright allow the descendants of creators to stop the next generation
    of creators, turning today’s remixers into tenants in the fields of the
    last century’s lucky few successful creators.

    Perhaps of more concern is Amendment 82′s proposal to require Internet
    Service Providers to spy upon and police their users to prevent
    infringement. As I’m sure you know, fair dealing is fact-specific and
    requires interpretation by courts — a software algorithm can never
    accurately determine whether a use is or is not infringing. How could
    software determine, for example, whether a clip on YouTube uses a video
    in the service of criticism or parody (both exempted from copyright
    under fair dealing rules)? I spent the last academic year in the US at
    the University of Southern California as the Canada-US Fulbright Chair
    in Public Diplomacy, and my undergraduates and PhD candidates made
    extensive educational use of transformed, critical and parodical
    materials that were online lawfully. As an expert in ICT, I am deeply
    skeptical that the proposed policing systems would have sufficient
    nuance to distinguish between piracy and professorship.

    At the same time, it is unlikely that such a filtering regime would
    succeed in preventing piracy. Pirates already rely on encrypted
    (scrambled) systems that would be invisible to filters. It’s only the
    honest people who’ll find themselves caught in the surveillance net,
    doomed to endless palavers with bored call-centre staff at the local ISP
    or telco giant, trying to convince them that they are engaged in
    legitimate use of copyrighted works.

    History teaches us an important lesson here. In 1995, WIPO adopted the
    WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT), which has since been implemented in law
    through the EUCD and the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The
    WCT allows for a great deal of copyright “self-help” — virtual letters
    of marque that give putative copyright holders the right to enforce
    copyright without the burden of showing proof of infringement or
    negotiating the judicial system.

    This “notice and takedown” system has proven wholly ineffective at
    preventing infringement (which continues to rise), but has proved an
    irresistible temptation for bullies, crooks and dodgy operators who love
    the ability to silence their critics merely by averring that these
    critics infringe upon their copyrights. Examples include the Church of
    Scientology (who routinely have critical material removed from the
    Internet by accusing critics of infringement) and the voting machine
    giant Diebold, who were eventually fined $125,000 for using the DMCA to
    take down thousands of copies of a leaked memo by one of their employees
    that detailed the way that Diebold had been culpable in fiddling
    election results.

    As with the WCT, Amendment 82 will be ineffectual at preventing piracy,
    but will still impose a high cost on honest users and average citizens,
    subjecting us all to heightened surveillance, limits on expression, and
    higher costs for ICT — and without any particular benefit to the small
    handful of multinational entertainment companies that proposed this
    amendment.

    Please vote no on 82.

    Thank you,

    Cory Doctorow,
    Author

  12. Apashiol says:

    After looking at that site it seems that the ref is the lesser evil. Not only is that unctuous toad Kilroy-Silk a representative, there’s another guy Thomas Wise of the UK Independence Party. This guy was caught claiming £36,000 for an assistant whose salary was £6000. He was then found to have the extra money in his bank account where he was “looking after it” for her. On top of which is the fact that this party is in competition for votes from the same demographic as the BNP (a far right, white nationalist political party in the United Kingdom). I think it will have to be the referee. I would feel too dirty getting into bed with Kilroy-Silk or Wise over any issue.

  13. Kieran O'Neill says:

    Well, I’ve emailed the representatives who had email addresses. (Kilroy seems to lack that, but I have tried robert.kilroy@europarl.europa.eu anyway.)

    Here’s my letter. It’s nowhere near as eloquent or comprehensive as Cory’s, but I guess if we’re going to email them, it can’t hurt to exchange ideas. (I release this into the public domain, copy/paste/alter at will.)

    Dear Mr Wise

    I am writing to express my strong opposition to he pending amendment 82 of paragraph 9a of the Guy Bono Report, reading:

    “9a. Calls on the Commission to propose a irective designed 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;”

    As has been pointed out in last year’s Gowers eport, such an extension of copyright conveys negligible benefits to individual artists. The extension of copyright also stifles creativity by restricting the creation of derivative works, and restricts public access to archival materials with
    cultural and educational value.

    Finally, the tone of the amendment suggests that the EU has a moral obligation to follow the lead of the United States in creating legislation. This carries a dangerous, implicit assumption that all laws passed by the United States are automatically morally just and appropriate to a European context.

    Allowing this amendment to enter the report would set a dangerous precedent for future European legislation, as it could promote the creation of laws that will benefit only record companies, and not the creators and consumers of culture.

    Please vote to have amendment 82 deleted from the report, for the good of European culture.

    Sincerely,
    Kieran O’Neill

  14. Kieran O'Neill says:

    A bit of web searching turned up an old Vcard containing Kilroy’s email address:

    robertandjan@thamesinternet.com

    from: http://www2.erewash.gov.uk/moderngov/mgVCardSingleExplain.asp?UID=315&Caller=&J=1)
    confirmed: http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/mepDetails.asp?mepcode=575&type=MEP

    Also, Christopher Heaton-Harris can be reached at:

    christopher.heaton-harris@europarl.europa.eu

    (This is not listed on his MEP page, but is listed on his personal website)

  15. Danny O'Brien says:

    Just got word from Brussels: it sounds like all three of the amendments were defeated in the committee vote. I’m double-checking, but if that’s true, it’s an amazing victory — one was proposed by Guy Bono himself, one by a key committee, and one by an EPP-ED member, the largest bloc in the parliament.

  16. Kieran O'Neill says:

    Well, Tom Wise responded with a commitment to vote against it and to collaborate with whomsoever wants to join him to defeat it.

    *sigh* While their position in the political spectrum scares me, and I’m definitely not anti-EU, at least this guy has taken the right position on IP issues.

  17. Attila says:

    Is there a URL with voting details? I’d like to be able to check how my MEPs have performed.

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