EU kills "3-strikes" Internet rule, affirms Internet is a fundamental right

After a last-minute scramble, the EU has been persuaded to kill the idea of forcing "3-strikes" copyright/internet legislation on European states. The "3-strikes" rule says that you can have your Internet connection taken away after a copyright holder accuses you of infringement three times -- but the rightsholder doesn't need to show any evidence that you've done anything wrong.

The entertainment industry has been lobbying around the world for the right to decide who gets to use the internet. In New Zealand, they managed to get Bill 92A, a 3-strikes rule, adopted by Parliament, but sustained, noisy activism from local geeks and artists forced the government to reverse its decision and go back to the drawing board on copyright. In France, Sarkozy pushed hard for a 3-strikes rule (his wife is a pop-star who is demanding more sweeping powers for entertainers over the internet), but was defeated. 3-strikes is a feature of the secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which the US, Canada, Japan, the EU and other rich countries are conducting behind closed doors.

The entertainment industry slipped 3-strikes into the EU through an amendment to the notorious "Telecoms Package," a huge, complex piece of legislation. To counter this, progressive MEPs wrote a set of "Citizens Rights" amendments that established that internet access was a fundamental right in Europe that cannot be taken away without judicial review and an actual finding of wrongdoing.

Activists went down to the wire this week, phoning and emailing their MEPs to ask them to vote to defend due process and citizens' rights, and it paid off. Yesterday, the citizens' rights amendments passed 407/57 -- and the EU banned Sarkozy from reintroducing his failed copyright proposal.

A formidable campaign from the citizens put the issues of freedoms on the Internet at the center of the debates of the Telecoms Package. This is a victory by itself. It started with the declaration of commissioner Viviane Reding considering access to Internet as a fundamental right1. The massive re-adoption of amendment 138/462 rather than the softer compromise negotiated by rapporteur Trautmann with the Council is an even stronger statement. These two elements alone confirm that the French 'three strikes' scheme, HADOPI, is dead already.
Amendment 138/46 adopted again. Internet is a fundamental right in Europe.


  1. Stop. This post is misleading, because of complex system of law-making in EU. Adding new ammendements means, that the whole telecom package goes back to European Commision for approval. If Commision will not agree (and this is likely) it will be back in parliament this autumn. Fight is far from being over.

  2. Yet another proof that European institutions can work, when they are democratically elected.

  3. The fact that EU elections are around the corner may have made MEPs more receptive than normal on this issue.

    Anyway good news (until the next crazy scheme pops up), and FWIW I do feel a bit guilty for not participating in the lobbying effort.

  4. Really, really happy about this. When I emailed Kathy Sinnott, independent MEP for Ireland South, some months back I got a direct personal considered response, though she admitted it was out of her area she said she was talking to independent artists for their opinion on it. I was impressed.

    Currently in Ireland we have a Minister for Justice talking about pushing through an anti-blasphemy law. If any of you Irish people are reading this, please, it’s even more important to bang the drums on that issue. TD’s email addresses (which are often hidden esp. on Fine Fail webpages) are of the form

  5. HADOPI is very well alive, thank you.
    The French minister in charge of the law was just on the radio, stating that she does not feel concerned whatsoever by the European decision and that the law would move forward and be voted next week.

  6. Note that this is just the Parliament, which may yet be overridden by the nondemocratic parts of the EU.

  7. It almost seems odd to see new legislation that has not been mandated by the entertainment industry.

  8. What I’m picking up from French news sites is that the French National Assembly at least is intending to push through its bill and claim this piece of EU legislation “doesn’t apply” in France. The “exception française” again. And the resolution is still up for a further debate before being enshrined in EU law from what I can make out. Perhaps the cries of success are a little premature?

  9. Call me uninformed but the bill did pass, the bill is still law so they still have the power to take away your ‘fundamental right’ its just they need one of their dodgy courts to do it first.

    Seems a small victory to me but I’m still thankful.

  10. It’s not Carla influencing Sarko, more the opposite, but don’t let that stop you from playing with strawmen again Cory.

    Before she married Sarkozy, Carla Bruni stated that she didn’t mind being copied without her authorization as she considered it to be free advertising. As an artist she earned more in concerts etc than through her contract with the recording industry, so it’s easy to see why she felt as she did.

    This was of course pointed out when Sarko started pushing for the 3 strikes law but she has remained publicly silent on the subject since she married him. I’d assume that her opinion has not changed (because otherwise there would be no point in remaining silent) but she says nothing in deference to his vulnerability on the subject.

    If you want to bash someone, bash Sarko on his own or add in Christine Albanel (France’s culture minister). She is a disgusting piece of work who answers all criticism by calling all detractors to the master plan “out of touch” & spouting off the MAFIAA’s fantasy land “profit lost to piracy” numbers which have been debunked as being 100% fiction.

    Guillaume Remy’s comment #8

  11. So what implications arise from this with regards to the situation in Ireland? Eircom have a private agreement with IMRO (the Irish Music Rights Organisation) to pursue a three strikes style rule. Does this effectively make this an illegal act?

  12. Heh, my last post got truncated…

    In case the automatic translation was unclear, comment #8 is about a guy working for France’s biggest TV channel TF1 which is closely aligned with Sarko. He complained about Hadopi’s extra-judicial sanctions turning the MAFIAA into free speech in France to his congresscritter who passed the letter on to Culture ministry for rebuttal. Panafieu, the critter in question forwarded on the message intact which should not have happened.

    Albanel then passed the letter on to his employer who immediately fired him for having an opinion different from TF1. The guy will certainly win damages from TF1 for unjustified termination but this incident shows just how low Albanel is willing to stoop to silence criticism.

    #17, the real power in the EU is the council of ministers (as #10 alluded to) in which France will block the euro-deputies decisions from having any teeth (by blocking all decisions until we get our way if neccesary). Individual nations will thus be free to implement a three strikes law if they so choose/are directed to do so by the MAFIAA.

  13. I sent an email to all the Brit MEPs via Only 2 had the balls to answer. Both stated their opposition to the Bill. They were Jeffrey Titford and Andrew Duff. So there’s 2 we can thank straight away.

  14. Many artists, like Juliette Greco or Maxime Le Forestier, regret that the PS has blocked the passage of the bill on downloading.

    The connection is blurring between the left and the artists. While the two worlds seemed linked, rejecting the law Hadopi on illegal downloading through the game of hide and seek parliamentary Socialist deputies threw a disorder in intellectual coteries.

    In today’s Internet, the complex debate on the remuneration of creation has changed the lines between right and left. On the one hand, UMP, on behalf of copyright, has proposed a law reinforcing the principle of control and who proposes to cut Internet access to users who download illegally. On the other hand, the PS denounced a system unworkable, repressive, and even a “surveillance of the Internet”.

    Throughout the debate, the PS lost companions historic route. After an initial protest against the position of PS from the world of cinema, the first secretary Martine Aubry received Monday, another dépitée address. In this text, singers such as Juliette Greco and Maxime Le Forestier, actors like Pierre Arditi and Michel Piccoli, or the director and friend of Lionel Jospin, Bernard Murat, asked the PS to “return to the left.” “You were the resistance to deregulation, the law of the jungle and the strongest who kills cultural diversity, they wrote. You are now, through a strange irony of history, the lawyers of unbridled capitalism against the rights of artists in the digital age. ”

    Tuesday, Aubry sought to join them for a meeting. In vain, because of the agendas of artists, says one to the party leadership. At PS, we want to believe that this is only a misunderstanding. They have read “neither the text nor what we offer,” regrets there. “These artists express a concern, they need an explanation.”

    The thesis of handling

    That’s the kind version. The Socialists have in fact little appreciated by these artists to give them political lessons. “I am saddened by the weakness of their argument, expressed regret Tuesday the president of the PS group in the Assembly Jean-Marc Ayrault. They provide answers of the 1980s when we are in the twenty-first century. “Harder, it develops the thesis of PS manipulation. “There is never a spontaneous,” says the member Patrick Bloche Paris, spokesman for the Socialist Hadopi law. For him, the production houses that have put pressure on their artists to take a stand. “We try to maintain the idea that there would be a disconnect between artists and the left,” he laments with some names of artists opposed to the text government: Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni. For him, artists are “wrong twice: on the text but also because they would be instrumentalized.

    In government, we denounce the attitude of “disrespect” to the left towards the artists and it is not able to resist the stress. “There is a deep wound of culture compared to the PS,” told in the entourage of Christine Albanel. Minister of Culture received Monday several artists such as Luc Besson, Kad Merad, Jean Reno, Françoise Hardy, Da Silva and Yves Duteil to explain his bill. And to explain that the proposals of PS would be ineffective.

    The left defends the principle of a ‘creative contribution’ paid by Internet users, clear a package to allow the download. “It would raise the contribution of 80 euros per month to address the financial need,” says on the ministry. Hadopi law does nothing to compensate artists, will reply on the PS.

  15. hey space & time master of, english words using of and word order french of like yoda makes you sound.

    Cela aurait préférable de mettre l’URL ou le texte d’origine que vous avez traduit avec google. Votre post sommairement traduit n’est que marginalement compréhensible pour les bilingues et l’est encore moins pour les non-francophones.

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