The European Parliament has reneged on its previous position to protect users rights against 3-strikes/graduated response for copyright enforcement with a vote endorsing the Gallo report.
To make matters worse, the French media has exposed how the European Parliament was informed by questionable rights-holder lobbying which included the name of at least one dead person.
The European Parliament has taken a backwards step, an U-turned on its former position which protected Internet users' rights. Instead - unbelievably - it has voted in favour of the hard-line Gallo report which wants to see criminalisation of copyright infringements and ISP liability for copyright. These are the kind of policies which the European Parliament is opposing in the ACTA (Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement) and which it has previously opposed on several occasions over the past two years.
The Gallo report is an 'own-initiative' report written by the French, centre-right MEP Marielle Gallo. It is not
legislation, and has no legal standing. However, it does seek to establish a policy position for the European Parliament and to send a message to the European Commission on future policy direction. It was adopted by 328 votes to 245.
The report was pushed by rights-holder lobbyists including Eurocinema, which sent in a petition signed by more than 100 film producers, as revealed by the French technology website Numerama .
Numerama also uncovered further lobbying by the IFPI , the recorded music industry lobbying organisation, which sent in a petition from 300 musicians.
This is interesting, because Eurocinema and the IFPI were among the ring-leaders behind the rights-holder lobbying on the Telecoms Package.
The story this time, however, gets curiouser and curiouser. Numerama has been digging into the two petitions and claims that some of the names are of dead people or obviously false. The French technology website claims that the IFPI list includes the well-known French singer Michel Sardou. Numerama finds this surprising since M. Sardou has admitted in the French media that he downloaded a pirated film.
La Quadrature du Net points out that around one third of the names in the Eurocinema petition are Hungarian film producers, including the name of László Kovács who died in 2007 .
Assuming that these claims stand up, it would seem that the European Parliament has been misled rather easily. MEPs and their assistants should certainly look more closely at the rights-holder lobbying in future.
The Gallo report is a retrograde move for the European Parliament after its efforts in 2009 to defend the rights of citizens. In March 2009, the European Parliament voted in the Lambrinidis report which called for the protection of Internet users' fundamental rights, and it ditched the oppressive Medina report which called for graduated response.
And importantly, the European Parliament has gone against its own legislation. In 2009, it sought to embed in legislation a provision which would make it more difficult for Member States to implement graduated response measures. This was the final agreement of 4 November 2009 in the Telecoms Package.
La Quadrature du Net points out in a press release that MEPs have failed to recognise how the deliberately obscure language of the report disguises its intentions . This is a consistent manoevure on the part of the copyright lobbyists, who want to create confusion, knowing that graduated response and and similar measures are unpopular.
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)Gallo report: European Parliament U-turns on users rights http://www.iptegrity.com 23 September 2010