The proposed new European Commissioners will be questioned by the European Parliament this week. Amazingly, there are four who will have some form of responsibility for policy related to copyright and the Internet. What should the Parliament be asking about? Let's meet them...
***Watch Viviane Reding being questioned live! ***
Commissioner-designate, Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship
As Commissioner for Information Society, Viviane Reding has done a 360 U-turn from supporting graduated response/3-strikes measures, to supporting the fundamental rights of Internet users. On her watch, the so-called ‘copyright hooks' were mysteriously inserted into the Telecoms Package. Also on her watch, a policy for a Europe-wide 3-strikes began to be formulated, although it has since taken a back seat (and hopefully been put on a very dusty back shelf).
In her statement at the end of the Telecoms Package negotiations on 5 November 2009, she said " a 3-strikes law which would cut people off the Internet without a prior procedure will certainly not become part of European law".
She will be questioned by the Civil Liberties and the Womens Rights committees and Sharon Bowles, chair of the Legal Affairs committee.
Commissioner-designate, Digital Agenda
Neelie Kroes must have been a big Rolling Stones fan, because as Commissioner for Competition, she appeared delighted to be photographed with Mick Jagger at a round-table on copyright. Her round-table also included other venerables of old industry, such as the head of LVMH, makers of Louis Vuitton, who are noted for their lack of sympathy towards the Internet and its users.
We have higher hopes for her, if she is succesful in getting the Information Society portfolio. Net neutrality has been put onto her agenda by the European Parliament.
She will grilled by the ITRE (Industry) committee.
Commissioner-designate, Internal Market and Services
Michel Barnier is unknown to Brussels, but the fact that he is French and appointed by President Nicholas Sarkozy should tell us something about his likely attitude to copyright matters. As Internal Market Commissioner he will hold the portfolio for copyright and for the new IPR Enforcement Observatory. His DG has begun to hold an annual conference on IPR Enforcement, where pro-copyright MEPs cosy up to the likes of the IFPI.
We must not let him forget that the real solution to the copyright online issue lies in his hands, and it is to sort the collecting societies and enable multi-territory rights for Internet publication.
He will answer questions from Arlene McCarthy, chair of the Monetary Affairs ( ECON) committee, and Malcolm Harbour, chair of the Internal Market (IMCO) committee.
Karel de Grucht
Karel de Grucht, is a Belgian politician and a lawyer. He has published an article entitled "No man is an island - On democracy, liberty and human rights", and therefore creates expectations that he will protect the fundamental rights of European citizens. This will concern him in respect of the ACTA dossier which he will be taking over from Baroness Ashton. ACTA - Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement - seeks to get a global agreement on 3-strikes measures and secondary liability for ISPs in relation to copyright and has many implications for fundamental rights.
His interrogators will be the International Trade committee.
La Quadrature du Net has put forward some questions for all of them, across a range of issues from ACTA and WIPO, and copyright term extension, to net neutrality, Internet blocking and fundamental rights.
MEPs should certainly ask about how they propose to implement the divergent EU policies which on the one hand would block the Internet and are pushing for ever tougher measures against Internet users, with the policy which put the Digital Economy at the forefront of the financial recovery.
Full details of the Commissioners-designate are on the European Parliament website.
The hearings will available via webcast , starting tomorrow.
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2010) Meet the new EU Commissioners for Copyright
, http://www.iptegrity.com 12 January 2010 .