European Parliament votes against three-strikes

(via Philippe Aigrain) There has been a bit of an overload on the three-strikes proposals these last few weeks, but I think that this is really important. The European Parliament voted last Wednesday on report A6-0063/2008 on Cultural industries in Europe. The report originally looked the the average pro-copyright industry document, although it stated that “criminalising consumers not seeking to make a profit is not the right solution to combating digital piracy.”

Interestingly, the document’s rapporteur Guy Bono has clearly been following the debate on the three-strikes proposal. Much like yours truly, he recognises that cutting-off internet service to an infringer is a disproportionate response in the digital age. He commented that:

“On this subject, I am firmly opposed to the position of some Member States, whose repressive measures are dictated by industries that have been unable to change their business model to face necessities imposed by the information society. The cut of Internet access is a disproportionate measure regarding the objectives. It is a sanction with powerful effects, which could have profound repercussions in a society where access to the Internet is an imperative right for social inclusion.”

Excellent point. The parliament agreed, and adopted the inclusion of the following paragraph to the report:

“Calls on the Commission and the Member States to recognise that the Internet is a vast platform for cultural expression, access to knowledge, and democratic participation in European creativity, bringing generations together through the information society; calls on the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to avoid adopting measures conflicting with civil liberties and human rights and with the principles of proportionality, effectiveness and dissuasiveness, such as the interruption of Internet access.”

I believe that this may prove to be the tipping point against the ludicrous three-strike policy. ISPs are clearly uneasy about becoming enforcers (and they should). Everyone with more than two functioning neurons has been able to recognise that the proposal is unworkable. Now the European Parliament has thrown its weight against the policy. One hopes that this may prove to be the death of this proposal.

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