Report from Brussels

An amendment to the Telecoms Package which supports the principles established in the Bono report is back on the European Parliament agenda for the Telecoms Package trialogues.

This is Article 32(a) of the Universal Services Directive ( Amendment 166 to the Harbour report). The amendment sets out the principle that any sanctions on end users, and notably any restrictions on users rights to access content, applications and services, must be proportionate to the alleged ‘offence’ (full text below). It is an important amendment, given that elsewhere in the Universal Services Directive, there is language concerning restrictions on users access to content. And as long as the 'co-operation' amendment (Article 33 (2a) or Harbour report Amendment112) remains in, which would establish in the law a process for telecoms regulators to oversee joint programmes for copyright enforcement between ISPs and rights-holders,  it is an essential safeguard for users' rights.

It is my understanding that this amendment is now being considered among a list of political issues related to the Harbour report. The Parliament is to look at

whether the any of the principles that are established in Amendment 166 are also established in other parts of the Telecoms Package, including the Universal Services directive itself.

The Amendment was tabled by Eva-Britt Svenson of the Nordic Greens group in the European Parliament, and almost disappeared due to a mistake by the Tabling Services.  It was carried by a majority of the smaller groups  voting in favour.

The wording parallels that of the Fjellner-Rocard amendment to the Bono report in April last year, which established the European Parliament’s position against graduated response, and specifically against termination of internet access as a sanction.


Amendment 166
Proposal for a directive – amending actArticle 1 - point 19 b (new)Directive 2002/22/ECArticle 32 a (new)
19b) The following Article 32a shall be added:
"Article 32a
Access to content, services and applications
Member States shall ensure that any restrictions to
users' rights to access content, services and
applications, if they are necessary, shall be
implemented by appropriate measures, in
accordance with the principles of proportionality,
effectiveness and dissuasiveness. These measures
shall not have the effect of hindering the
development of the information society, in
compliance with Directive 2000/31/EC, and shall not
conflict with citizens' fundamental rights, including
the right to privacy and the right to due process."

 

 

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