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I am a Professor of Law and the Director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at the American University, Washington College of Law and am a founding member of the Creative Commons board.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Urgent - The Fate of Internet Users' Rights in the EU

Readers in Europe who care about keeping the Internet relatively neutral need to express that opinion to policymakers in the European Parliament by April 29. In particular, it is inexplicable why the Green Party is on the sidelines and not actively supporting the Citizens' Rights Amendments that have been tabled to restore users' rights that were in an earlier version of the gargantuan Telecoms Package making its way through the European Parliament. Erik Josefsson is a leading proponent of these amendments, and he is hosting PDF versions of the amendments Part I, Part II and Part III on his site.

The magic numbers in this debate have been 138 and 166. These are the two amendments that initially were hailed in the US press as recognizing access to the Internet as a fundamental right, countering French President Nicolas Sarkozy's campaign to require service providers to impose the Internet death penalty on users found to have infringed intellectual property rights three times.

Lobbying by representatives of corporate and professional rights owners - remember there is no group dedicated solely to lobbying on behalf of the millions of amateur creators who also are rights owners under copyright - has led to a reversal of this position As Monica Horten reports, the current versions of Amendment 138 and Amendment 166 would allow for imposition of the Internet death penalty and non-neutral network management.

The Citizens' Rights Amendments have been tabled to reverse these back-room deals and to clarify the original position concerning users' rights.

While it is of course up to European citizens to decide for themselves what regulations they want to live under, as a participant in a global network, I hope that those who support the cause of citizens' rights will mobilize to establish those rights in law.

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Anonymous Michel Massé said...

Dear Sir:

I am a French citizen active on Facebook to try to block the "HADOPI" bill regarding the citizens rights on the Internet.

I fear that under the understandable alibi of defending creation, filtering the Internet might start a Big "Sister" act (the Minister presenting the bill is a lady). Not to mention all kinds of political tricks she used (such as pre-arranged petitions) used to force passage of the bill...

I made a facebook "Cause" @ and a translation of the main problems @

My conclusion is I feel the only losing parties will be the artists (not a cent for them) and the people of France (added expenses to have this circus working, general public spied in their most private conversations) for no result (real pirates and hackers WILL find a way through the filters).

Any help you would see fit to give us passing the message out of France would certainly help...

Michel Massé

3:59 PM  
Blogger hansp said...

Just a comment on the Greens. They will put forward a package of changes concerning the Trautman-report(166, 138) as well as the Harbour-report. For those who do not know, this is technically the same as Citizen´s Rights Amendment.

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Nemokrati said...

I agree that it is unfortunate that the Greens don't support CRA instead. If there is no support for any of its twelve parts then we will have a horrendous law, as Monica Horten words it.

Parts I-II of the CRA are identical with the original amendments 138 and 166./see CRA in parts

If we could succeed in influencing a majority of MEP:s to support those two parts, we might at least achieve a minimum of human rights' support included as articles in the Telecom package by Tuesday.

6:50 AM  

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