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European Union Tech Policy

I have been logging EU policy since 2008. The information in these blog posts is deep background on the policy battles of the 2020s. What happens now, rests on what went before.

It's often easy to forget the history of policy, as we get embroiled in the latest lobbying scam or arguments between different sets of interests. It all seems new, and so urgent and important. In fact, many of the battles are re-runs of earlier ones. We've seen before how these things get resolved. We also see the mistakes of the previous legislation, as well as the successes.

What the European Union does in tech policy matters on a global scale. It has led the world with its legislation on privacy (GDPR). It is now hoping to repeat that with new laws to regulate Internet platforms. In that regard, the jury is still out.

As a guide to my somewhat eclectic headings, the sub-section IPRED discusses the IPR enforcement directive and other IP or copyright initiatives. The sub-section on Internet Threats looks at any EU policy initiatives other than copyright which imply Internet blocking. The sub-section on Internet Freedoms has a focus on rights and freedoms and the European Convention on Human Rights.

If you are interested in EU policy for IP, you may like my book The Closing of the Net which discusses it in the light of influencing factors by States and industry stakeholders.

If you are interested in copyright policy, you may like my previous books A Copyright Masquerade: How Corporate Lobbying Threatens Online Freedoms and The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the 'Telecoms Package'

The European Commission is proposing to bring in new rules next year for copyright on the Internet.


This new copyright proposal  forms part of the European Commission's general overhaul - officially a  relaunch -  of the Single European Market. The announcement was made at a press conference in Brussels today, and encompasses 50 proposals to be put in place by 2012. 

 The Commission's big new idea is to acknowledge that citizens, as well as business, have a stake in the Single Market. The relaunch was therefore held jointly by Michel Barnier, Commissioner for the Internal Market, and Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Fundamental Rights. 

The  single market rules are intended to facilitate the free movement of goods and services. One obvious problem in the EU is the matter of copyright, which remains constrained by national boundaries. Copyright law therefore works

Read more: New EU Music Copyright Rules for 2011

The   European Commission's Digital Agenda, revealed  on Wednesday by the Commissioner  Neelie Kroes, has all the hallmarks of a cat on a hot tin roof.  She is in the uncomfortable position of having to  play off the aggressive bullying of the copyright industries against the arrogant mendacity of the telcos.    


The willowy Mrs Kroes and  her dysfunctional DG, have chosen to prioritise the explosive  issue of copyright.  At the same time, she  fails to grasp Internet users rights, and net neutrality has been dropped from the list of  formal action points.


The Digital Agenda is set out as a Communication to the Council and the Parliament. This is a policy document which explains forthcoming policy initiatives planned by the Commission. It includes new Directives, as well as reviews of existing policies.

Mrs Kroes'  flagship legislative proposal within the Digital Agenda is a Framework directive on collective rights management (pan-European copyright), and a directive on

Read more: Neelie Kroes Digital Agenda: a cat on a hot tin roof

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! ***


Read more: Meet the new EU Commissioners for copyright


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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor, with expertise in online safety, technology and human rights. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for non-commercial use. Please link back and attribute Dr Monica Horten.  Contact me to use any of my content for commercial purposes.  

The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review