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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'

MEPs are calling on the European Commission and on the French and British governments, not to adopt the "three strikes and you're out"  policies for ISPs. Christofer Fjellner and Michel Rocard, Guy Bono, Helga Trüpel, Francis Wurtz, Christa Prets and Katerina Batzeli  moved an amendment to the so-called Bono report,  asking for the Commission not to adopt policies for the Internet which are  disproportionate and  could infringe human and civic rights. They do not want Europe to adopt proposals for filtering and  blocking of Internet content and the imposition of sanctions on users such as cutting off Internet access.

 The move has no legislative importance but it could be important in positioning European policy on the Internet and ISPs.  The so-called "three strikes and you're out" proposal would mean that ISPs would be asked to warn, suspend and cut off users who were alleged to be infringing copyright rules. The proposal was mooted in France, by the "mission Olivennes", and is being considered by the UK government. 

The vote was on Wednesday April 9th and the amendment was accepted. 

In France, the vote has sparked a political spat between one of the amendment's sponsors, Michel Rocard, and the sponsoring minister, Christine Albanel.   Mme Albanel said, in an interview with

Read more: European Parliament anti-filtering vote

The European Parliament's Culture and Education committee has voted on a draft report in respect of culture and the Lisbon agenda. According to reports on some US-based websites, it has rejected amendments in favour of ISP filtering and copyright term extensions. I would make a couple of comments here. The Lisbon agenda relates to economic growth in Europe, but it has no budgetary commitment and operates purely as an inter-governmental umbrella policy. Secondly, the vote did not relate to any legislation, as far as I can see. And thirdly, I can't find the final report on the EP website!! However, I look forward to seeing the confirmation of those US reports.

 

Updated 25th March 2008: The plenary vote on the Bono report will be on 10th April.  Rumours from Brussels suggest there will be another attempt by the industry lobby groups to get amendments included. The significance of the report is that it may set the tone for policy, even though it is not a legislative document.

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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor: online safety, technology and human rights. In April 2024, I was appointed as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on online safety and empowerment of content creators and users. 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