The European Commission is playing an odd kind of card game with the Telecoms Package amendments. It supports  Amendment 138 to the Framework directive, but drops amendment 166 to the Universal Service directive, yet both amendments support the same principles. Either Mrs Reding  genuinely wants to see the Internet remain open and users treated fairly, or she  is playing some kind of  political poker.

 

The European Commission's opinion on the  amendments to the Telecoms Package was released late today - no doubt they were hoping to bury it over the week-end. Because in spite of the political wool which they continue to eke out of their creaking PR  spindle, the controversial and inflamatory presence of content matters and  copyright enforcement is still plain to be seen.

If Mrs Reding genuinely had realised the error of her ways, we would have expected to see the non-acceptance of amendments 112 and 61 - the linked co-operation and lawful content amendments. We would also have expected the scrapping of all the content-related amendments, including the requirements to place restrictions in users contracts and not anticipated that the Commission would reinsert the text to inform users about 'copyright infringements and their legal consequences'. Both of these being key requirements for graduated response measures. 

And it goes without saying,  that she would be able to support both Framework directive 138 and Universal Service 166.  

 But Mrs Reding has dropped one  card on the table. This is the Commission's refusal to accept amendment 120. This amendment deleted the requirement for ISPs to enforce copyright and copyright enforcement law.  It was one of the copyright hooks, inserted by the College of commissioners - rumoured by Mrs Reding herself - before the Telecoms Package  began its journey through the Parliament.

If ever there was a giveaway, this is it. The Commission is making it clear that it wants copyright, and copyright enforcement to stay in the Telecoms Package. The question is, what  will it do with card number 138?

The Commission's proposals are available here .