MEP Erika Mann indicates there may be a move in the European Parliament to get copyright enforcement and content out of the Telecoms Package - and a second reading next Spring
German MEP Erika Mann has said that content and copyright has no place in telecommunications law, and that in her opinion, it should never have been in the Telecoms Package. She says she has worked to get the controversial amendments related to content and copyright re-examined. Her comments are made in a video interview with the German website Netzpolitik on 11th September.
But what is really interesting about this interview is the insights that she gives into the latest developments in the European Parliament. When asked about the concept of 'lawful content' which is in some of the controversial copyright amendments, Mann refers to discussions between herself and her colleagues Catherine Trautmann and Malcolm Harbour. She indicates that there is a general agreement thatthis wording is inappropriate, and that they have re-examined those amendments and may propose to remove them.
'Dass es rausgekommen ist, hat sehr viel damit zu tuen dass ich gemeinsam im gespraech mit der Kollegin CatherineTrautmann..wir dann in ihren Antragen die Veraenderungen schon vorgenommen haben, wir haben ein Gespraech gefuerht, sie hat zugestimmt, hat selber auch gsehen das die Formulierung in der Form nicht uebernommen werden sollte, und dann in gespraechen mit Malcolm Harbour hat er gesagt, er sieht es genau so...und er schliess sich unsere Betrachtung an and hat dann auch entsprechenden Aenderungen vorgenommen in seinem Bericht.."
Roughly translated, this says that : "That is has been removed, has a lot to do with the fact that I was talking to my colleague Catherine Trautmann ... we then examined the amendments in her documents, we had a conversation, she agreed with me, and saw to it herself that the wording in that form would not be used, and then in discussions with Malcolm Harbour, he said, he saw it exactly the same way .... and followed up on our points and examined the relevant amendments in his own report".
On the amendments which require Internet Service Providers to send warning messages to their customers regarding copyright infringement - which the Data Protection Supervisor's report suggests could be a slippery slope to a Europe-wide 3-strikes regime - she hints at a change in the wording. And she claims that any references to sanctioning users for copyright infringement have been taken out.
Why this is interesting, is that she appears to be referring to revisions which are not yet in the public domain - although it is not totally clear. If what MEP Mann says is correct, then this will be considered good news by those who were unhappy with the references to content and copyright in the Telecoms Package.
She also suggests that the Telecoms Package will go to a second reading in the European Parliament, with a possible timeframe of April or May next year. The French Presidency has said in its press release that it anticipates the Telecoms Package being approved by the Council on 27 November this year, and that it could be law by early next year. We will have to wait and see which prediction proves to be correct.
Mann is the shadow-rapporteur for another of the Telecoms Package directives which proposes a body to oversee regulation on a pan-European basis (the so-called BERT authority). This proposal has received less publicity due to the controversy over the copyright enforcement amendments. She is also a long-standing Internet enthousiast.
Mann's views are carefully balanced between a need to have a healthy content industry in Europe and a need to protect individual freedoms. She said that she does not agree with the French model of riposte graduee or the so-called 3-strikes, but she doesn't know what the right model is, adding 'that doesn't doesn't mean that sanctioning is never possible'. She calls on the music and entertainment industries to develop new business models, and interestingly she comments that she has been saying this to the entertainment industry for over 10 years : 'vor zehn Jahre habe ich mit Sony gestritten dass Sie die Chancen des Mediens gar nicht genutzt haben'. (Rough translation: 10 years ago I argued with Sony, that they had not utilised the opportunities of this medium).