Key amendment switched at the last minute before the 7 July vote. What kind of law-making is this?
Annexe 1, Point 19 amendment to the Authorisation Directive has been deleted and replaced with an alternative text, that paves the way for ISP filtering at the framework level of EU law.
Annexe 1, Point 19 of the Authorisation Directive was an amendment which meant that EU governments could place copyright enforcement as a term of doing business for ISPs. In principle, it's a good thing that it has been deleted. What I am concerned about, is the possible interpretation of the text that has replaced it.
The deletion was voted through by the Industry, Research and Energy committee (ITRE) on July 7th. In its place, there is a new text, which refers to another amendment - Article 8 - point 4 - g. This amendment refers (via another linked amendment) to co-operation between ISPs and rights-holders. I have now been able to analyse it, and as I suspected, it means
more or less the same thing as the original amendment. It just says it in a roundabout way, instead of saying it directly, as the original one did.
Annexe 1, Point 19 of the Authorisation Directive was inserted by the College of Commissioners, with no scrutiny by the Commission Directorate responsible for this legislation, and was largely overlooked in the discussion before the ITRE vote. This amendment - Point 19a -was not, to my knowledge, discussed as a compromise amendment. It has therefore had no scrutiny whatsoever, by any Parliamentarian. I found it as Amendment 821 out of 830 amendments in the ITRE committee report, so it's fair to ask whether it really got the scrutiny it deserved.
This is an appalling way to make laws. Amendments, hidden within a long text on a different piece of policy, suddenly switched at the last minute before a vote, in such a fashion that no-one even knows they are there.
It would be comical, if it wasn't so serious and if it didn't mean the difference between a free or a restricted Internet.
I have amended my paper of 21 July to include this change - click here to download the pdf.