The "Telecoms Package" comprises reviews to 5 sets of directives, but for the copyright issue there are two which are important: Amendments to the Electronic communications: common regulatory framework for networks and services, access, interconnection and authorisation ( Directives 2002/19/EC to 2002/21/EC]) and the Electronic communications: universalservice, users' rights relating to networks and services, processing of personal data, protection of privacy, consumer protection cooperation (Directives 2002/22/EC, 2002/58/EC and Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004.
The package is currently under review in the European Parliament. Amendments proposed will alter the framework of telecoms legislation. These amendments taken together do appear to make specific changes which are needed to pave the way for '3 strikes' proposals to be brought in. Under EU law as it stands, '3 strikes' would not be legal, hence why these changes are being lobbied for.
The amendments will:
- weaken privacy rules, enabling data retention in some form for the purposes of pursuing copyright infringers and altering the principle of data protection which currently prevents ISPs from divulging user identity and other personal information
- enable member states to set up a process for pursuing and sanctioning copyright infringement outside the domain of the courts (ie a privatised law enforcement process for copyright, where ISPs will act on the basis of information supplied by copyright owners)
- oblige ISPs to alter the terms and conditions in their contracts with end users, enabling them to sanction and cut off users who infringe copyright
- do away with the right of users to freely distribute content (including their own)
-legally block access to websites and web content
Committee votes are scheduled for July, and a plenary vote in September.