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July 02, 2008 |

Write to your MEP: say no to "3 strikes" through the backdoor

Could Europe be drafting a new law to disconnect suspected filesharers from the internet? MEPs have already signalled their condemnation of this approach. But last-minute amendments to telecommunications legislation could bring the so-called "3 strikes" approach in by the backdoor. If you want your MEP to stick to their guns on 3 strikes, write to them today to voice your concerns.

Back in February, we reported that the UK Government was considering a law to ban illicit filesharers from the 'net. A promised consultation on proposed legislation is yet to materialise (although we're still hoping it will appear before the Summer recess). Meanwhile, pressure on ISPs and rightsholders to come to a voluntary arrangement has had some effect, with both Virgin and BT recently starting to "educate" those customers they believe are infringing copyright in their use of p2p networks.

As we pointed out at the time, neither the voluntary nor the statutory approach will put a penny in artists' pockets unless accompanied by viable legal alternatives that deliver consumers what they want. A recent survey commissioned by British Music Rights [pdf] indicates that 80% of those currently downloading music would pay for so-called "legal p2p" - properly licensed and competitive filesharing alternatives. Rumours that industry is close to developing such an offer are yet to be confirmed. But without it, any enforcement move is likely only to drive illicit filesharing further underground.

Over in France, President Nicolas Sarkozy (who also took over the European presidency yesterday) has put his weight behind legislation proposed by the Olivennes report. The bill, which has been delayed until the Autumn, will mandate termination of internet connections. It goes without saying that it is the subject of much controversy across the Channel.

La Quadrature du Net - a French pressure group - have been actively campaigning on the issue. They're also tracking the progress of the Telecoms Package, a review of European telecoms law currently in the European Parliament. Ordinarily this bill would deal with network infrastructure, universal service and other purely telecoms matters.

But as La Quadrature du Net announced yesterday:

"One week before a key vote in the reform of European law on electronic communications ("Telecom Package"), La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net) denounces a series of amendments aimed at closing the open architecture of the Internet for more control and surveillance of users..

…this set of amendments creates the unprecedented mechanism known as graduated response in European law; judicial authority and law courts are vacated in favour of private actors and "technical measures" of surveillance and filtering. According to rules set forth by administrative authorities and rights holders, intermediaries will be forced to cooperate in monitoring and filtering their subscribers, or they will be exposed to administrative sanctions"

If you want to voice your concerns about 3 strikes legislation brought in through the backdoor in Brussels, you have until 7 July, the date of the vote in IMCO and ITRE committees, to contact your MEP and inform them that the "Telecoms Package" amendments could bring in disproportionate and ineffective law.

You can find details of your MEPs here. Suggestions for topics to raise in your letters are here and analysis and commented amendments with other resources about the Telecoms Package are also available.

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Comments (75)

  1. Canadian MP: Three Strikes Law is Idiotic - Clone-Zone FxP - Worldwide Warez Forum:
    Aug 02, 2008 at 08:23 AM

    [...] This Monday, European Parliament will vote on a new telecoms bill that would make it possible to disconnect people from the Internet, [...]

  2. The Open Rights Group : Blog Archive » European Data Protection Supervisor comments on the Telecoms package:
    Sep 15, 2008 at 02:25 PM

    [...] in July, we asked you to write to your MEP about worrying last minute amendments to the EU Telecoms Package. Now, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), an independent supervisory authority devoted [...]

  3. ISPs to Ban P2P with New European Telecom Package? (ZP) | Direct2News:
    Sep 17, 2008 at 11:25 PM

    [...] Rights Group is also covering the story: Could Europe be drafting a new law to disconnect suspected filesharers from the internet? MEPs [...]

  4. Canadian MP: Three Strikes Law is Idiotic (TF) | Direct2News:
    Sep 17, 2008 at 11:27 PM

    [...] full interview. For more information about the European “three strikes” legislation, visit the Open Rights Group. Tags: c61, Canada, charlie angus, DMCA This entry was posted on Sunday, July 6th, 2008 at [...]

  5. WoW Moviewatch: Stealth legislation that could affect E - WOW Insider - Curse:
    Sep 17, 2008 at 11:35 PM

    [...] under: Machinima, WoW MoviewatchIf you live in Europe, you should be really concerned right about now. A small group of MEPs are trying to sneak in a law that could punish you even if [...]

  6. Random and Irrelevant » Blog Archive » Back-door European three-strikes rule:
    Jan 08, 2009 at 09:43 PM

    [...] reported elsewhere (Open Rights Group, Boing Boing), there is a set of back-door amendements to a European Telecoms law that will [...]

  7. OT : Why I prefer physical music formats - Page 15 | hilpers:
    Jan 18, 2009 at 07:31 PM

    [...] giving away > paying customers to the competition. France is pushing a new law across Europe: http://www.openrightsgroup.org/2008/...-the-backdoor/ And if Europe isn't enough, how about the whole world: [...]

  8. Brian:
    Jul 04, 2008 at 12:53 PM

    This is why I vote Non to Lisbon

    Brian (ireland)

  9. Dynamo_ace:
    Jul 28, 2008 at 01:59 PM

    I finally had a response from my MEP, here it is:

    "Thank you for your email regarding the vote on 7th July 2008 on the
    Telecoms package in the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO)
    and Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committees in the European
    Parliament.

    It was widely reported that some of the amendments proposed will damage
    the openness of the Internet and reduce the rights of internet users.
    This is incorrect as the legislation does not propose the monitoring of
    individual customer usage of the internet or contain any provisions on
    Copyright Law enforcement. MEP's voted in favour of a series of
    amendments that enhance users´ rights in electronic communications, with
    copyright issues being restricted to public service information only.

    Some of the key points of the Telecoms package are summarised below:

    - Users will now be informed by operators, before contracts are
    concluded, about any restrictions on access to services.

    - Market demand and competition between operators will decide whether
    they see any point in restricting access. It does not give governments
    new powers to decide that, or to make applications illegal.

    - Where handsets or other terminal equipment are included free, or at a
    subsidised price, users must be informed of the cost of terminating
    their agreement early.

    - Number porting (the process of keeping a number when switching
    networks) will now take one day (while it has previously taken up to one
    month).

    - Promotion of the European 112 emergency call number across the EU, and
    measures to speed up the availability of mobile caller location when
    emergency calls are made. This is complementary to existing national
    emergency numbers.

    - Disabled users will have equivalent access to communications with
    special terminal equipment for their needs.

    - The need to keep the Internet open by empowering regulators to
    intervene if a carrier discriminated against a particular service
    provider - for example, by blocking or slowing traffic.

    - Regulators would be given enabling powers to allow standardised public
    service messages to be delivered to users. These service messages could
    include security protection advice, and advice on harmful or unlawful
    uses of the Internet, and their potential consequences. The information
    would be sent to all users, not to targeted individuals and not based on
    individual usage. Copyright infringement is just one of the areas that
    might be covered, but it will be up to public authorities to supply the
    information.

    Under Parliament's rules, the IMCO Committee also accepted, without a
    vote, a set of amendments from the Civil Liberties Committee on data
    protection. These include significant new requirements for operators to
    inform subscribers in the event of any breach of their personal data
    through electronic networks.

    I do not sit on either the IMCO or ITRE Committees and so did not vote
    on this report last week. However, I understand from my colleagues on
    both these committees that there is cross party support for this line.

    I hope that this information helps clarify elements of the Telecoms
    package and puts your mind at rest.


    Yours sincerely




    Liz Lynne MEP"

    For your infomation, the MEP is a Lib Dem

  10. Horrible European Surveillance Proposals | afoe | A Fistful of Euros | European Opinion:
    Jul 03, 2008 at 07:21 PM

    [...] fuckery is this? It looks like the French government, having failed to impose an awful record-industry inspired snoop.... The so-called “3 strikes” law foresaw that ISPs would be required to cut off service [...]

  11. Dynamo_ace:
    Jul 03, 2008 at 08:15 PM

    I recently ammended the letter due to a few errors and has sent that to my MEP. I hope she doesn't mind. So here is the amended letter:

    "Dear Liz Lynne,
    This is a amended letter of the last one i sent you, due to the fact i made a few mistakes. Please accept my apologies for
    this. I am getting fed up on constantly having to sound out the so called "anti-pirates" and their affiliates for who they
    really are. I want to spend more time setting up and running a business and basically live life to the full, rather than
    being worried about what the state of the world is.

    I am writing to you concerning the proposed “Telecoms Package”. I ask you and other MEPs to reject the “Telecoms
    Package” and any further efforts for a "3 strikes and your out process" for if this goes ahead, it could cause a dangerous
    precedent for the econamy, the creative industries and the Internet. It is also a damage to civil liberties (including ones
    in the EU itself, which are supposed to be non-negotiable, presumably to prevent another world war from happening in
    Europe).

    The proposed “Telecoms Package” will only benefit large corporations, who have recently thought of themselves as a
    elite bunch. Now they have got politicians on their side, including Gordon Brown, Nicolas Sarkozy and Lord Tresman to
    push their nefarious campaign of presumed hate and technophobia which if it continues, Small and Medium Businesses,
    and consumers (regardless of their involvement in filesharing) will be severely targeted by the large corporations in a
    bigger way than they are now. The large corporations who are trying to get the “Telecoms Package” though use the
    guises of "Protecting Creativity" and "Protecting Industry" but all they are really doing is protecting their large sums of
    money, and preventing others to benefit in many ways. They may have even violated laws of the UK, presumably the
    "Computer Misuse Act 1990" (Concerning the shutting down of OiNK) and the "Companies Act 1985" (Since the BPI,
    FACT, FAST and ELSPA are actually Limited Companies, registered on Companies House yet not complaining with the Act
    which presumably states that their full trading name has to be show on Business Stationery, Advertising and their
    website"). They even misrepresented themselves as a union, and a representative of a industry. Just several of the
    many dark actions they have done since 2000.

    The “Telecoms Package” is just a spin word, Like "The Worlds Creative Hub" and "Olivennes". Its doublethink for making
    something bad to the world, look like something good. The “Telecoms Package” also violates Net Neutrality and destroys
    innovation or severely restricts it to a "elite class". I don't think I need to say how dangerous that is. I could say it could
    even damage the UK's status as a democracy.

    Efforts should be made in reforming copyright into a more balanced form, and legalizing filesharing though voluntary
    means or though a reformed TV Licence.

    If you need more info, please refer to the following websites:
    http://www.openrightsgroup.org/2008/07/02/write-to-your-mep-say-no-to-3-strikes-through-the-backdoor/#more-560
    http://www.savetheinternet.com/ (A similar Net Neutrality campaign in the US)

    There is already a massive condemnation of the “Telecoms Package” and its related stuff worldwide. From consumers to
    human rights groups to even some large companies themselves like Talk Talk and BT (Despite the Phorm incident), even
    unions like the ISPA have condemned it.

    Also, if you want to see how deadly a three strikes policy is, look no further than Youtube's "Gatling gun policy" (As a
    former user of Youtube said), three removals of content from your account due to so called "Copyright violation", and you are suspended. And it could be for anything, even saying something bad about a company. That's how bad copyright is, it has become a "God card" for holders to do what they want to consumers and basically get away with it.

    I apologize for the length of this letter, but I needed to stress the importance of why you and other MEPs (As well as
    MPs, both in the Lib Dems and out) need to reject the “Telecoms Package” and other similar proposals. And to
    encourage more sane ideas. I fear for what might happen to the world if things like the “Telecoms Package” are allowed
    to pass. Because since when did bullies like the IFPI and BPI be allowed to rule the UK and other countries?"

  12. ISPs will be Internet Police | Integrity Under Threat:
    Jul 03, 2008 at 04:51 PM

    [...] to do with policing the Net, but got 80 changes in the last phase) right before summer holidays. Write your EU politicians and protest against this, before we don’t even have full Internet access [...]

  13. Tony Marsh:
    Jul 03, 2008 at 05:49 PM

    @Dynamo_ace

    Yeah, a copy of the letter would be handy, thanks.

  14. Steve Real:
    Jul 04, 2008 at 01:46 PM

    "Three strikes laws" are for morons,
    whose the politikal ninny who came up with this idea?
    You think that's really going to work?

    Duh!
    duh!
    duh!
    Stupidity does cross International boundries after all.

    Let's go after the source of the problem.
    The corporations who created these file sharing programs
    and the companies who profit from it.

    What are you people scared of a lawsuit?
    These corporations are all about making a buck
    off the expense of the average person.
    Go after the corporaions and not the peoples.

  15. Free Culture News | EU Law Amended to Force ISPs to Combat P2P:
    Jul 04, 2008 at 04:09 AM

    [...] Open Rights Group page on the issue (includes action links) [...]

  16. delade | “FRA-kupp” på EU-nivå:
    Jul 04, 2008 at 09:32 AM

    [...] Även Slashdot skriver om detta: “ZeroPaid is reporting that ISPs could be turned into the copyright police through European legislation that received a number of ‘intellectual property’ amendments. Many of these amendments can be found here. Judging by the amendments, ISPs could be mandated to block legitimate traffic in an effort to ‘prevent’ illegitimate traffic. To help stop this legislation, you can check out the action page. Additional coverage can be found on EDRI and Open Rights Group.” [...]

  17. Dynamo_ace:
    Jul 03, 2008 at 12:26 PM

    Already written to Liz Lynne MEP, West Midlands

    Does anyone want a copy of the letter?

  18. Stuart Ward:
    Jul 03, 2008 at 01:53 PM

    from mrgrahambooth@aol.com
    to stuart.ward@bcs.org
    date Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 1:35 PM
    subject Re: Telecom Package amendments 7 July

    I will be voting against. Graham Booth

  19. Taliesin Nuin:
    Jul 04, 2008 at 07:41 PM

    @Becky.

    Ah, thanks for explaining. I had interpreted the video as accompanying the story it was with, as you realised. In a different context (the one you give), it comes across differently. But you can understand why in this context I felt it risked playing to those promoting these laws who try to present it as a simple issue of copyright infringement rather than something potentially much father reaching.

    I wrote to my MEPs with pretty much the points you suggested in your second and last paragraphs. Two of the South West MEPs are from UKIP (!) so I don't know if they actually bother attending committee meetings, but you never know. ;) No acknowledgment as yet, but we will keep hope for Monday, I guess. Thanks for the full reply - much appreciated.

  20. Boycott Novell » Links 03/07/2008: Many GNU/Linux Distributions Released; OpenMoko Out Shortly:
    Jul 03, 2008 at 10:22 PM

    [...] Write to your MEP: say no to “3 strikes” through the backdoor Could Europe be drafting a new law to disconnect suspected filesharers from the internet? MEPs have already signalled their condemnation of this approach. But last-minute amendments to telecommunications legislation could bring the so-called “3 strikes” approach in by the backdoor. If you want your MEP to stick to their guns on 3 strikes, write to them today to voice your concerns. [...]

  21. What Fuckery Is This? — almost a diary — Tobias Schwarz’s thoughts, opinions, and ideas of the moment:
    Jul 03, 2008 at 11:38 PM

    [...] would have avoided, but which is more than appropriate in this case - “What fuckery is this? It looks like the French government, having failed to impose an awful record-industry inspired snoop.... The so-called “3 strikes” law foresaw that ISPs would be required to cut off service to anyone [...]

  22. » “FRA-kupp” på EU-nivå projo’s blog: En personlig blog om integritet- och sexualitetsfrågor:
    Jul 04, 2008 at 12:01 AM

    [...] Även Slashdot skriver om detta: “ZeroPaid is reporting that ISPs could be turned into the copyright police through European legislation that received a number of ‘intellectual property’ amendments. Many of these amendments can be found here. Judging by the amendments, ISPs could be mandated to block legitimate traffic in an effort to ‘prevent’ illegitimate traffic. To help stop this legislation, you can check out the action page. Additional coverage can be found on EDRI and Open Rights Group.” [...]

  23. Taliesin Nuin:
    Jul 04, 2008 at 11:13 AM

    I've just watched the video and I'm not sure this would convince anyone other than the convinced. The message I get from it as a neutral party is "we're swapping copyrighted music and how dare the studios send us letters telling us to stop." The suggestion of a legal sharing network sounds, again to a neutral party, like "if you want us to stop ripping off your music, you'd better offer us a better deal."

    Now I'm no doubt preaching a contrary message in this crowd, but logically who is this video addressed to? People who share music or those who don't? If it's the former, then people already agree with you or (mostly) just don't care. The majority share music because it's easy and will grumble and shuffle off if it becomes difficult. The latter... well the message is firstly a confession of "guilt" and a refusal to stop. It even offers some encouragement when it says these efforts will just "drive file sharing deeper underground." This is SUCCESS for the big labels and studios. Deeper underground = Harder to find / use. I don't think this is the defiant message that was intended.

    There are serious issues with these amendments that are being proposed in the EU, but they are more to do with the appointment of private businesses as judge and executioner without recourse (the three strikes legitimisation) and the misrepresentation of file sharing as copyright infringement. I dread the day I lose my job (which requires Internet access) because some automated software at Virgin saw me torrenting a perfectly legal Debian ISO.

    What is the real aim of campaigning against these laws? Because this video makes me believe it is principally about ensuring a continued ability to share copyrighted music. It may be a shock in this community but there is an entire world of people out there (including many who vote and who make laws) that see that as wrong. If the aim is propose a different distribution model, a less partisan presentation would be more effective. Though I have my own concerns about the technological measures that would be required to establish a blanket "music tax" that people could opt in or out of.

    Sorry to be so confrontational / critical on this.

    Taliesin

  24. Hétfőn döntenek a francia 3vétség EUs bevezetéséről « /dev/blog:
    Jul 05, 2008 at 04:00 PM

    [...] napja még csak francia viszonylatban kommenteltem, most már minket is elér ez a [...]

  25. Becky:
    Jul 04, 2008 at 11:50 AM

    @Taliesin

    Thanks for your comments. I think it was confusing for us to have put the video up there in the first place, as it isn't strictly about the Telecoms Package at all. We've taken the video down and may put it up in a separate post later. You can still view it here: http://www.friction.tv/ftv_debate.php?debate_id=3532

    The aim of campaigning against the Telecoms package amendments is that the 3 strikes measures they could bring in are disproportionate and lack consumer safeguards, turning ISPs into private police at the behest of rightsholders.

    Yesterday, a voluntary scheme was in the news in the UK, where on ISP (Virgin) send subscribers "educational" letters about filesharing based on evidence supplied to them by a music industry group (the BPI). No threat of disconnection is made in this scheme...yet. So that's what the video was about - sorry for the confusion.

    I do think it's valid to point out that neither the 3 strikes nor the voluntary scheme being tried in the UK is going to put a penny more in artists' pockets - and when you're at a stage where around 6 million UK citizens are filesharing illicitly, I think you can start talking about market failure without sounding like you're blackmailing anyone. I disagree that driving filesharing underground is going to make it harder to use in the long run, as those who are technically able enough to use encryption or IP masking will soon develop interfaces that let the technically less-able use these tools too.

    In the end, we are campaigning against overly-punitive / disproportionate measures aimed at illict filesharers which have the potential to adversely affect all internet users in a number of ways. Although it's right to point out why the laws are bad, it's also useful to point out that such laws won't achieve their stated aim - to reward artists. Your comments have reminded me that it's important to get the balance right between these two approaches, so thanks!

  26. Canadian MP: Three Strikes Law is Idiotic at IDTorrent Blog:
    Jul 10, 2008 at 02:04 PM

    [...] For the full low-down on his thoughts, check out the full interview. For more information about the European “three strikes” legislation, visit the Open Rights Group. [...]

  27. Taliesin Nuin:
    Jul 05, 2008 at 02:32 PM

    I'm going to have to retract my earlier comments about UKIP (blast!). I've had two responses so far from the MEPs I wrote to (I have five in my area). The Conservative one (Neil Parish) is for the amendments and I'll raise the things he said on the discussion list when I've had a chance to type up my own comments on it. One of the two UKIP ones (Roger Knapman) I got a reply from (well, his office) to inform me that he will oppose the amendments. So that's gratifying at least. Um, go UKIP? :/

  28. Matt Kelland:
    Jul 05, 2008 at 03:59 PM

    Does anyone know of sites for non-UK EU nationals to find their MEPs, i.e. the equivalents of writetothem.com? I'm assembling a list to accompany a campaign being organised in the machinima & online gaming community.

    If you could reply via comments in my blog, I'd be extremely grateful.

    http://worldofmongoose.blogspot.com/2008/07/get-off-your-butt-and-write-to-your-mep.html

  29. Daily WTF—European Law, the legislative joker for failed national bills | strange tales:
    Jul 10, 2008 at 01:03 PM

    [...] protection agency lobbied against it. Now, on the second day after taking the European Presidency, Sarkozy pushes the same failed bill to become part of the European Telecoms Package, a law that local lawmakers will happily implement pretending they are not in a position to defy [...]

  30. Jonathan:
    Jul 14, 2008 at 11:08 PM

    I've just received this reply from Syed Kamall, which isn't as clear as I'd hoped it would be:

    Mon, 2008-07-14 at 23:25 +0200:

    I believe that you may be referring to two sets of amendments by me and
    by my Conservative colleague Malcolm Harbour. My amendments were simply
    intended to allow traffic data to be processed to ensure the security of
    electronic communications networks, services and equipment. It was not
    my intention with my amendments, for "the security of an electronic
    communication equipment" to be interpreted as "the security of DRM
    preventing, detecting, or intercepting IP infringements" as suggested by
    some. However, I asked for legal clarification on whether a possible
    unintended consequence of my amendment would be to allow DRM and
    interception of IP infringements. Since I did not receive a
    satisfactory answer I asked to withdraw the amendment in order to
    re-introduce it at plenary with a clarification on the definition of
    "security". I was unable to withdraw it, so recommended a vote against.
    In the event, IMCO committee did not vote on my amendment.

    Malcolm Harbour is very clear that his amendments are not designed to
    start a "three strikes and you are out" law. I certainly would not
    support ISPs being forced to do the work of law enforcement agencies.
    Also, I do not believe in collective punishment where because one
    family member has been judged to download illegal material the whole
    household loses its connection to essential services such as shopping,
    banking, communications etc. Malcolm tells me that "as opposed to the
    text proposed by the Commission, his amendments shift the burden of
    explaining the law from the ISPs to the appropriate national
    authorities. It also broadens the concept so that any type of unlawful
    activities are covered, not only copyright infringement. Such other
    activities could be for example child pornography. This public interest
    information would be prepared by the relevant national authority and
    then simply distributed by the ISP to all their customers. It involves
    no monitoring of individual customer usage of the internet."

    Malcolm Harbour totally rejects the claims that these amendments are
    intended to reduce consumer choice and undermine individual freedom. In
    particular, the Directive contains no provisions on Copyright Law
    enforcement, not does it refer, in any way, to the French Government's
    proposed enforcement agreement.

    Thank you again for taking the time to write to me

    Regards

    Syed

    SYED KAMALL
    Conservative MEP for London
    www.syedkamall.com

  31. Dynamo_ace:
    Jul 04, 2008 at 08:52 PM

    No response yet from the MEP i wrote to. But you might be interested to know that the FFII has also thrown their hat in the ring.

    http://press.ffii.org/Press_releases/European_Parliament_rushes_towards_Soviet_Internet

  32. XtremeWays:
    Jul 05, 2008 at 12:43 AM

    @Taliesin
    IMHO you see people demanding a "better offer" as extortionists ("make me a better offer for this t-shirt, or I will shoplift it"). Under normal circumstances, you would be right, but in this case it is a legitime because the world has changed. An offer for gas lighting was a good offer 200 years ago; today I _demand_ office workspace that uses better technology.

    Let me make an example. Imagine that all news agencies and newspapers would still do the business the old way, how they did it before telegraph and radio. That is, they would print newspapers in Europe and physically ship them to the US by sea, and vice versa. All news from the other continent would be delayed for a week or so (as it used to be at the time).

    Do they have legal right to do so ? Yes !
    Do they have right to enforce this way of doing business ? Yes!
    Would it work ? NO!

    People would be scanning and faxing fresh news stories from the newspapers instead of buying "legal" week-old copies delivered by ships.
    Of course, news agencies would hate it. They would propose restriction on fax machine ownership. They would demand telecom to produce DRMed fax machines that won't send newspapers. Newspapers would be printed in yellow color on blue background (impossible to scan by a b/w fax). Finally, all this won't help and they would propose three strike law, to disconnect people from fax network.

    Does it remind you of anything ;) ?
    Instead of using chances provided by Internet, that guys still fight it.

  33. Taliesin Nuin:
    Jul 09, 2008 at 08:23 AM

    @Ahron:

    Or it could help debunking quadrature's analysis. We need to look at what the implications of these amendments are. One of my MEPs wrote back with similar to what Michael Harbour said above, I guess it's the party line. The amendments are very vague and aren't easy to understand. That alone makes them open to abuse and I couldn't see how they supported what the MEP said they achieved. But a bit more of an in-depth analysis would be good.

    On a separate note, I understand that vote on the actual Telecom Package as a whole takes place in September. Is there any chance that the entire package, now including these amendments will be thrown out? Anyone have a feel for this?

  34. Michael:
    Jul 08, 2008 at 04:09 PM

    We are assessing the implications of the vote before making public comment. These two blogposts cast some light on recent developments.

    http://technollama.blogspot.com/2008/07/european-woes.html
    http://blogscript.blogspot.com/2008/07/result-of-imco-vote.html

  35. Aharon:
    Jul 08, 2008 at 09:45 PM

    Hiyas!

    Am new to this.. Just read the BBC article and am a bit shocked..

    Was wondering if anyone might have a link to the actual legistlation and its amendments? (..the actual text.. I need to read it to comprehend..) Was searching on the EU parliament website trying to find the whole legistlation, but got only highlights..

    The actual text of the legistlation could, I think, help debunking MEPs that, like in the one on the BBC site, saying: "There has been a great deal of dismay in the committee at the interpretation being put on these amendments,"

    Many thanks!

  36. rich:
    Jul 08, 2008 at 01:11 PM

    Oh sods - vote went through. : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7495085.stm

  37. Dynamo_ace:
    Jul 08, 2008 at 03:25 PM

    Its official we now may be living in the first corporate dictatorship.

    Ready the resistance

  38. Dynamo_ace:
    Jul 08, 2008 at 12:43 PM

    Hmm, i find that letter hard to believe, the Conservatives conflict started when David Cameron went to the BPI Ltd and was seduced by their dark ideals. At the time we thought it was a just a simple power play that the Tories and Labour like doing for no real reason. But now that might not be the case.

    I wonder why George Osboure doesn't react to these recent developments in the party. He's against all this apparently, so why is he not standing up and be counted?

  39. John:
    Jul 09, 2008 at 02:09 PM

    LQN got it clearly wrong, the amendments were fuzzy and vague - you had to try real hard to interpret them the way they (and ORG and half the posters on here) did. Read the actual Committee amendment documents on their own rather than those with comments/highlights from LQN and you'll see its a lot less clear cut than LQN suggest.
    The vote in September is the plenary vote where all the MEPs in the Parliament vote on the reports put forward by the Committee, as well as having the chance to propose their own amendments independently. The political groups, particularly EPP-ED & PSE, will be key in deciding whether they go through.
    Have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detailed_walk_through_the_codecision_procedure to understand how the overall process works - the Council of Ministers is equally important as the Parliament in this whole thing...

  40. rich:
    Jul 09, 2008 at 11:28 AM

    @Taliesin Nuin - I wrote to my MEP's re the September vote - AFAIK the September vote is limited to MEPs on the IMCO or ITRE committees.

  41. GeekLawyer’s Blog » 3 strikes through the back door:
    Jul 09, 2008 at 06:24 PM

    [...] has  commented before, like ORG along with very many others, on the grotesque proposal to strike people accused, but not proven, to [...]

  42. MJ Ray:
    Jul 07, 2008 at 02:07 PM

    @Taliesin: Vote is at 1900 today. Press conference on Europe-by-Satellite 1300 tomorrow. Not sure where will have first report, but I expect freenode #laquadrature will be among them.

    @Alex Hayton: never mind DMCA, mention MediaDefender's attack on the independent Revision3 production company. That's who these three-strikers are supporting.

    (These comments are under BSD-like terms, not Creative Commons.)

  43. Dan:
    Jul 07, 2008 at 02:08 PM

    @Taliesin Nuin: I've heard the vote is on for 19:00 — don't know if that's local time or BST.

  44. noii:
    Jul 07, 2008 at 11:34 PM

    Here's the response I got from Timothy Kirkhope. Seems to play with semantics in relation to the amendments a bit rather than addressing the core concepts of just how 'unlawful use' would be detected while maintaining free digital communication. Anyone care to analyse further?

    From: KIRKHOPE Timothy [timothy.kirkhope@europarl.europa.eu] Sent: Mon 7/7/2008 13:20

    ...

    Many thanks for your email regarding selected amendments tabled by
    Malcolm Harbour MEP and Syed Kamall MEP, in advance of the telecoms
    votes in Strasbourg on Monday

    Mr Harbour and Mr Kamall would like to stress that it is absolutely not
    the case that that their amendments will damage the openness of the
    Internet and reduce the rights of Internet users and have provided
    responses below to the amendments identified for criticism in the
    Quadrature document to which you referred.

    Mr Harbour and Mr Kamall would like to highlight that their amendments
    reinforce the openness of the Internet and they have ensured that
    consumers' rights are respected, with copyright issues being restricted
    to public service information only (see justification below).

    If you would like any further information, please feel free to contact
    us.


    Justification of amendments tabled by Mr Harbour and Mr Kamall

    As is clear from the text, amendment H1 in fact gives national
    regulatory authorities and the Commission the power to take appropriate
    action to prevent degradation and slowing of traffic and against
    unreasonable restrictions of users' possibilities to access or
    distribute lawful content or to run lawful applications and services of
    their choice. Furthermore, recital 14 starts with the words: "It should
    be the end-users' decision what lawful content they want to be able to
    send and receive, and which services, applications, hardware and
    software they want to use for such purposes..." It also notes that "an
    unrestricted basic internet service" could be required as a response to
    a perceived problem.

    It is evident that this protection should not extend to any unlawful
    content or applications. In fact, the question of lawfulness is outside
    the scope of this legislation and depends on the national laws of each
    country. It is to be decided by the relevant judicial authorities of
    each country, not by the ISPs.
    Amendment K1 refers to the free movement of goods and makes it clear
    that a country can not start requiring manufacturers to incorporate
    features that would allow detecting or preventing for example copyright
    infringement, as that would hinder the free movement of the computers
    and other terminal equipment concerned. Any such requirements would
    have to be agreed by all member states of the EU. We are not aware of
    any such proposals.

    Amendment H2 asks national regulatory authorities to promote - not force
    - cooperation, as appropriate, regarding protection and promotion of
    lawful content. It is entirely independent of "flexible response" and
    does not prescribe the outcome of any such cooperation.

    As opposed to the text proposed by the Commission, amendment H3 shifts
    the burden of explaining the law from the ISPs to the appropriate
    national authorities. It also broadens the concept so that any type of
    unlawful activities are covered, not only copyright infringement. Such
    other activities could be for example child pornography. This public
    interest information would be prepared by the relevant national
    authority and then simply distributed by the ISP to all their customers.
    It involves no monitoring of individual customer usage of the internet.
    None of the amendments have been drafted by any outside lobbying
    organisation.


    Office of Timothy Kirkhope MEP
    Working for Yorkshire & the Humber
    in the European Parliament
    ASP 14E 264
    Rue Wiertz
    B-1047 Brussels
    BELGIUM

  45. Taliesin Nuin:
    Jul 07, 2008 at 11:43 AM

    Well today is the day of the vote. Does anyone know what time it is and when where we can see the results. I am really, really hoping this gets rejected. The longer it gets put off (even if somebody keeps trying to sneak it through), the more time there is for people to become informed about this issue and realise what's being attempted here.

  46. EU ”Telecom package” | Yoshi K:
    Jul 06, 2008 at 11:36 PM

    [...] Schärfe gerechtfertigt zu sein. Deshalb hat netzpolitik.org zusammen mit laquadrature.net und The Open Rights Group eine Email Kampagne gegen diese Vorlage gestartet. Details finden sich hier. Hat nichts mit dem [...]

  47. Alex Hayton:
    Jul 07, 2008 at 09:42 AM

    If anyone else wants to write in today and wants another template, here's the message I sent to my MEPs:

    I am writing to you concerning the proposed "Telecoms Package", due for a vote today. I ask you and other MEPs to reject the "Telecoms
    Package", on the grounds that recent amendments to increase the scope to monitoring the piracy internet users on a "3 strikes and you're out" basis would by definition lead to the implementation of an EU-wide internet monitoring framework.

    While presenting a major invasion of privacy in itself (notably across the entire EU, where I thought this was supposed to be non-negotiable!), this is likely to pave the way to immense damage to our civil liberties.

    Also, even if this weren't enough to reject the new amendment outright, in my opinion the proposed bill gives too much power to copyright holders, especially given their recent track record of issuing DMCA takedown notices to works that were later held to be fair-use in the US. Does the proposed legislation include a fair adjudication, review and compensation system for any piracy claims that are made in error? Many people now rely on the internet to conduct their daily business, so potential losses from erroneous suspension of internet service could be very high.

    Yours sincerely,

    Alex Hayton

  48. Canadian MP: Three Strikes Law is Idiotic | TorrentFreak:
    Jul 06, 2008 at 10:23 PM

    [...] For more information about the European “three strikes” legislation, visit the Open Rights Group. Saved in: P2P and Filesharing, Politics and Ideology, Right to Copy Tags: c61, canada, charlie [...]

  49. WoW Moviewatch: Stealth legislation that could affect Europe on Monday | WarCraft Maniac:
    Jul 06, 2008 at 11:15 PM

    [...] you live in Europe, you should be really concerned right about now. A small group of MEPs are trying to sneak in a law that could punish you even if [...]

  50. WoW Moviewatch: Stealth legislation that could affect Europe on Monday | Loot Whores - MMO & MMORPG News & Feeds:
    Jul 06, 2008 at 06:03 PM

    [...] under: Machinima, WoW MoviewatchIf you live in Europe, you should be really concerned right about now. A small group of MEPs are trying to sneak in a law that could punish you even if [...]

  51. Antony:
    Jul 06, 2008 at 06:28 PM

    Message to the member of the european governements and to the parasites in charge in the entertainement industry who corrupt them.


    Is this a governement for the people?

    Hell no!

    Go ahead! Pass your crappy anti-citizen law!

    You want to go this way? Fine! No justice no peace and no law!
    Let the fitess survive!

    Since you are a bunch of old fogies fat and out of shape who deserve no more respect than the old bags of shit you are, you stand no chance.

    Mark my world!

  52. WoW Moviewatch: Stealth legislation that could affect Europe on Monday | Warcraft-News.com:
    Jul 06, 2008 at 06:00 PM

    [...] you live in Europe, you should be really concerned right about now. A small group of MEPs are trying to sneak in a law that could punish you even [...]

  53. Lilian Edwards:
    Jul 06, 2008 at 01:35 AM

    Might be an idea to add o that note the page Hugh has put up whch contains much veryt clear instruction plus a cute machinima they've thrown together.

    http://stealth.strangecompany.org/

    My own write up is at

    http://blogscript.blogspot.com/2008/07/three-strikes-and-youre-er-confused.html

  54. The daily FRA update | Integrity Under Threat:
    Jul 06, 2008 at 12:09 PM

    [...] of their customers. In other words, the content mafia that will control YOUR Internet connection. Write to your member of euro parliament, before Monday. It’s this quick it can go if the suckers [...]

  55. Bruno:
    Jul 06, 2008 at 01:27 PM

    Non-UK citizens: find your MEPs here!

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/members/public/geoSearch.do?language=EN

    To the ORG redaction: would be great to include such links in the future, so people from the 26 other Member States can also help lobbying!

  56. An Open Letter to the the French President Nicolas Sarkozy | Moved by Freedom - Powered by Standards:
    Jul 06, 2008 at 07:34 PM

    [...] culture, strikes me today as being something you and I have come to disagree on. Your “ Three Strikes” approach to what is referred to as the “ Internet Piracy” appears to me and many [...]

  57. Warcraft Videos » WoW Moviewatch: Stealth legislation that could affect Europe on Monday:
    Jul 07, 2008 at 06:00 AM

    [...] you live in Europe, you should be really concerned right about now. A small group of MEPs are trying to sneak in a law that could punish you even if [...]

  58. WiiZeels.com » Blog Archive » WoW Moviewatch: Stealth legislation that could affect Europe on Monday:
    Jul 06, 2008 at 06:03 PM

    [...] you live in Europe, you should be really concerned right about now. A small group of MEPs are trying to sneak in a law that could punish you even if [...]

  59. Zwartbaard » Blog Archive » Canadian MP: Three Strikes Law is Idiotic:
    Jul 10, 2008 at 07:01 PM

    [...] For the full low-down on his thoughts, check out the full interview. For more information about the European “three strikes” legislation, visit the Open Rights Group. [...]

  60. Anonymous Coward:
    Jul 05, 2008 at 07:44 PM

    Unfortunately, the people at 'La Quadrature du Net' do not seem to have a lot of legal expertise. I'm only a somewhat informed layman myself, however, to anyone who as actually read their 'analysis,' their points are...to be polite, not immediately obvious.

    Well, let's be blunt, their 'analysis' is laughably inadequate. For example, in their comment on Article 21 (4a) of Amendment H3 (at the very end of the 'analysis'), they construe 'national regulatory authorities' to mean Internet Service Providers, 'public interest information' becomes 'notice messages to users when unlawful uses have been detected,' and so forth. Three strikes are never mentioned in the amendments, and their fear that the French government would somehow be able to implement a three-strikes rule following the passage of this paper is equally invalid - the French government would have the same legal troubles it did before with it.

    How they conclude that amendment H1 somehow promoted 'trusted' computing is beyond me as well. On the issue of free software, it states that guidelines may be issued that 'ensure the ability of users (...) to run lawful applications and services of their choice is not unreasonably restricted.' Since free software is not, by any standards, unlawful, this seems to rather prevent both the restriction of free software, and by extension, the enforcement of 'trusted' computing.

    Now, that doesn't mean that the amendments are perfect, or necessarily even good - it is hard to evaluate this without the whole articles they amend, which unfortunately are not provided in their material. For example, the meaning of amendment K2, p. 6a is not immediately clear. To me, this seems to pertain spam and virus filters rather than DRM, but without further information that is not provided, it is hard to tell for certain.

    Granted, I have only spent half an hour or so on this, but, quite frankly, I think there's a lot of hot air involved here. The amendments don't seem to say anything they say it does, and, indeed, in some cases says what they say they think it should say. Mind you, this is not a new phenomenon - we have seen a similar blow-up of hot air here in germany when §202c StGB (the so-called 'hacker paragraph;' a rather odd name considering the content) was introduced, and none of its opponents seemed to have read the actual text of it.

    The problem with this is not so much an effect it would have on the law directly - the MEP know the text and know what it's about, and will be quite able to decide valid criticism from this kind of crackpottery - but rather that such sloppy work undermines the credibility of organisations that have their heart in the right place, if, at times, they seem to be looking for their brain. This means that, when the stakes really are high (such as they were, and are, with data retention), nobody takes them, and by extension, their side (!) seriously anymore.

    And that's a damn shame. We need a serious lobby for civil rights - but the only way it's going to be serious is if it takes its research seriously and campaigns against what new law drafts actually say.

  61. Anonymous Coward:
    Jul 05, 2008 at 08:45 PM

    It should be noted here that the European Parliament is not an enemy in this respect. Rather, it is the copyright lobby that, without considering chilling consequences on free speech, pushes for more and more rigorous copyright legislation, and, more immediately, it is those who would exploit that legislation to prevent criticism.

    It should, I think, prove far more fruitful to point out how existing legislation is already abused for censorship purposes. Look at Scientology's shady dealings, false DMCA takedown notices that pester such sites as wikileaks, and the harassment of many critics of many organisations - consider, for example, how the CSE (Creation Science Evangelism, Kent Hovind's creationism thing) got youtube to suspend dozens of critics of their (quite ridiculous) propaganda films that they themselves state are not copyrighted.

    One can argue about the effect traditional copyright has on our culture in the 21st century, and one can make a number of points against this approach in general (for example, that modern information technology makes a record industry largely unnecessary), but whether or not and to what extent piracy should be outlawed is a minor issue compared to free speech, which is much more urgent and potentially much more dangerous.

    It took around two seconds after data retention laws were enacted that the german Telekom spied on its managers and journalists. Organisations like those mentioned above have exploited american copyright law to censor for years. Trivial patents are used by large companies to muscle competitors out of business. Those are the real dangers posed by this approach on intellectual property. I can live without listening to the top 40, I can live without watching hollywood blockbusters, but I cannot live without my right to free speech.

  62. Dynamo_ace:
    Jul 05, 2008 at 08:25 PM

    Anonymous Coward has a point, We need all bases covered. That means theroies, proof, evidence, suspicons, everything...

    Know thy enemy, but also know thy self.

  63. Hmpf:
    Jul 05, 2008 at 06:55 PM

    How do I find out who to write to? I'm German...

  64. Dynamo_ace:
    Jul 05, 2008 at 06:30 PM

    Ah, so we have proven that the tories are in did at war with itself!

    And we found three traitors to prove it.

    Shame on you, Neil Parish,Malcolm Harbour and Syed Kamal. You join David Cameron and Ann Widicome in the traitors of the conservite ideoiogy.

    And i'm no tory, and now i know why.

  65. Nicholas Whyte:
    Jul 05, 2008 at 05:21 PM

    Worth pointing out that the crucial amendments are proposed by British Conservatives - Malcolm Harbour and Syed Kamal. Obviously not worth rubbing this point in if you are writing to other British MEPs or other members of the EPP group, but I have used it in my own letters which run roughly as follows:

    "...I am writing to you about the Telecoms package which goes to IMCO and ITRE next week. I'm very concerned by the amendments proposed by [British Conservatives,] Malcolm Harbour and Syed Kamal, which introduce a number of new provisions related to Intellectual Property Rights. These legal changes would allow intrusive monitoring of use of the Internet, entirely contrary to the fundamental principles of human rights law in Europe. I hope that you and your colleagues will reject these dangerous and ill-considered proposals; apparently they are to be voted in IMCO on Monday, 7 July."

  66. Attention Europeans: Your Rights are Being Threatened! : deletedItems: Life, Love and the Pursuit of Zombies.:
    Jul 05, 2008 at 06:03 PM

    [...] to The Open Rights Group, …neither the voluntary nor the statutory approach will put a penny in artists’ pockets [...]

  67. rich:
    Jul 16, 2008 at 09:28 AM

    @john

    'LQN got it clearly wrong, the amendments were fuzzy and vague'
    - fuzzy and vague is exactly how we get screwed over.

  68. Batting Against Three Strikes through the Back Door | Software Cooperative News:
    Jul 17, 2008 at 07:58 AM

    [...] In short, some MEPs that I remember from the Software Patent campaign proposed amendments that would enable the unpopular three-strikes regime, where internet users could be disconnected and fined if they had three allegations of copyright infringement made (not necessarily proved AIUI) against them, and ISPs could be required to block legal peer-to-peer cooperative distribution systems like BitTorrent. ISPs would also have to distribute official advice about proper internet use and I remember how good that often is. Note that three-strikes wasn’t explicit in the amendments, but there did appear to be loopholes which could be used to allow it, such as only prohibiting technical feature requirements. For longer descriptions, see articles by La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net) and The Open Rights Group. [...]

  69. MJ Ray:
    Jul 15, 2008 at 12:35 PM

    @John - I read the amendments without LQN highlights and I agree that this law could be used to enable non-judicial three-strikes regimes. Did you read the media solicitor quoted on the BBC report? It's not just ordinary voters who think this law has these effects.



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