Pro-copyright amendments to the Lambrinidis report were rejected yesterday by the European Parliament by an overwhelming majority. The result is positive for the Parliament's support of fundamental freedoms on the Internet.
Today in the European Parliament, a report on strengthening fundamental freedoms on the Internet was adopted by a massive majority of 481 to 25, with 21 abstentions. Six amendments filed by MEPs known to favour the interests of the copyright industries were rejected.
The Lambrinidis report is concerned with security on the Internet and protecting fundamental freedoms, addressing concepts such as ‘digital identity'. It condemns censorship and concludes with a request to the Council of Ministers, to take steps to align the laws of the 27 EU countries in respect of protection of fundamental rights on the Internet and to undertake more policy dialogue between legislators, the courts, the network operators and the users.
The result is positive for the European Parliament, which is wrestling internally withthe issue of how to establish a policy for the Internet. The Lambrinidis report will play a role in establishing the Parliament's overall position in this policy area which is increasing in its economic importance for Europe.
The main battleground is the Telecoms Package - a legislative review of the EU framework related to networks and electronic communications - where content industry interests have clashed with those of the Internet industry and increasingly with those of citizens. In particular, the content industry lobby have been attempting to get copyright enforcement measures such as graduated responce / 3-strikes, into a law where they don't belong. The pro-Internet lobby has been trying to keep them out.
The MEPs who filed the copyright amendments to the Lambrinidis report were Jacques Toubon, Ruth Hieronymi, Jean-Marie Cavada, Claire Gibault, and Manolis Mavrommatis. The amendments are as usual written in an opaque manner, so that they could easily be overlooked, but once one knows the code they are easily spotted. Here are some clues: references to fundamental rights, especially when accompanied by the phrase "the rights and freedoms of others" - this is a reference to the European Charter of Fundamental rights, Article 17, the right to property and the right to Intellectual property. It is code for protection of copyright. Thus, amendment 4 voted on today, included the text:
"measures must be taken in order to ensure
that all the fundamental rights of persons,
based on the Charter of Fundamental
Rights of the European Union, are always
safeguarded and protected and that there
is a fair balance between the rights and
the freedoms of all parties concerned; "
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