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Policy matters

Policy does matter. We may think that the Internet is a free digital environment, where no laws apply but there are many cases which contradict this notion.

In this section of Iptegrity.com, I  report on EU policy related to the Internet and online content, in particular, where policy intiatives affect   access to film, music and television, and I highlight issues for the  policy debate in relation to the Internet.  For 2008-2009, copyright enforcement has been the hot topic, with net neutrality emerging as well, in 2009.   My focus is on the European Union and  its member states - for example,  I am currently covering Internet  policy - specifically copyright enforcement intiatives - in France and the UK.

I am most interested in the citizen's perspective. However, the issues I cover will affect the Internet and telecoms industries, as well as the media and entertainment industries.  

Iptegrity.com offers  original reporting from the EU, as well as comment and opinion on issues raised in other media, including non-English language media in Europe. Iptegrity.com is the main English-language news source for the Telecoms Package review of EU telecoms law.

Telecoms Package passed by "confused" MEPs  

 

The two European Parliament  committees voting on the crucial copyright amendments have both approved them. The vote was last night (7th July 2008).  This means that the Parliament has voted for a the legal framework to restrict access to the Internet, and to underpin riposte graduee  measures similar to the ones being implemented in France. With  809 amendments, and the copyright matters inserted with subtle phrases peppered throughout the text, it was difficult for anyone to understand what they were actually voting on.  Reports from Strasbourg say that MEPs were confused and right up to the last minute, did not know what they were voting for. 

 The committee vote is the first of a two-stage voting process in the European Parliament. The second stage is the plenary vote, however, the plenary   usually follows the committee vote.

The only way things can change now, is if MEPs take action to do something for the plenary session. This is scheduled for 2nd September, but reports from last night suggest that there are requests for the plenary vote to be re-sheduled to give more time. Certainly, the French Presidency's stated desire to get the Telecoms Package approved in council by November is much too fast.

This legislation is complicated, it has serious democratic implications, and it needs time for proper debate and public consultation.

I have written a briefing paper on the Telecoms package. 

Called The Telecoms Package and the copyright amendments: a European legal framework to stop downloading, and monitor the Internet", the paper argues that it is essential to protect the "mere conduit" status of the ISPs in order to protect the rights and freedoms of the individual. You can read it here.  You are free to use it or quote from it, provided you attribute it  to the author. 

'Broadband settlement' being negotiated behind closed doors

Talks between the British music industry and the ISPs to resolve the P2P / free downloads logjam have been going on secretly for the past 2-3 weeks, it emerged today. It is not clear exactly what kind of deal is anticipated, but it is believed that some kind of levy on ISP subscriptions is on the table, under the banner of a 'broadband settlement'. And there are indications that the British music industry is not going to push for French-style enforcement involving cutting off people's internet access. If that is the case - which remains to be seen, these talks could be positive.

The existence of the talks became evident at the Music Publishers Association AGM in London today, where management of the composers and authors collecting societies and music publishers gathered to review the financial performance of this sector of the industry for 2007. They appear to have begun about 2-3 weeks ago, and were presented as a change of heart by the ISP industry, that it is now willing to talk. A timeframe of the next 3-4 weeks to reach a conclusion has been suggested, but not confirmed.

Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of British Music Rights, confirmed that the talks are happening, but refused

Read more: British music industry in secret talks with ISPs

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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.