EU kills 3-strikes proposal (yay!) but all is not well (eek!)

You might have seen that the EU's "Telecoms Package" squeaked through with some protection for users' rights intact -- specifically, the proposal to allow "3-strikes" rules (whereby everyone in your house would lose internet access if any member was accused, without trial, of copyright infringement) was killed. But it's not as good as it could be, nor as good as it was before the content industry's lobbyists got their chums to rewrite it.

Jérémie Zimmemrmann writes,

The European Parliament and the Council of the EU came to an agreement on the "Telecoms Package" negotiations. They laid down legal and procedural guarantees against restrictions of Internet access. The new provision gives[1] "effective judicial protection and due process", guarantees "the principle of presumption of innocence and the right to privacy" and the respect of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

However, the text only speaks of "a prior fair and impartial procedure" instead of a prior ruling by the judicial authorities, guaranteed by the original "amendment 138", and contains loopholes and ambiguities. The invalidation of freedom-killer measures such as "three strikes policies" will now depend on interpretation by the European Court of Justice and national courts. Moreover, the text only relates to measures taken by Member States and thereby fails to bar telecom operators and entertainment industries from knocking down the founding principle of Net neutrality.

Europe only goes half-way in protecting Internet rights.


  1. In fairness to the EP, 138 was withdrawn on the basis of legal advice that said it was ultra vires, or outside the powers of the EP and would thus fall under court challenge. The EP has done as much as it possibly could here, and may well revisit the matter after Lisbon.

  2. But when this or ACTA runs up against Finland’s ‘broadband is a right’, won’t the latter win? And are the ISPs of other countries going to accept big hits to their own revenue for a Hollywood cartel that has done nothing for them?

    The MAFIAA won’t quit until they’ve eliminated all their customers, thereby committing seppuku!

  3. I know I’m being hopelessly optimistic, but I wonder if the ISPs and entertainment industry really could do a private deal to implement a three strikes rule.

    First, the ISP would have to let you out of your contract right? They couldn’t cut you off but continue to force you to pay for a service your not getting.

    Second, the Data Protection Act would prevent them from telling other ISPs why they cut you off or that you even were cut off.

    So, without the government getting involved, all they’ll do is give customers who want to break their contract to go to another ISP an easy way out of their contracts.

    I’m sure they’ll find a way around this loop-hole, but it’s nice to dream…

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