But will it help the EU to resist a US push for multi-lateral 3-strikes?
The political significance of the Telecoms Package Amendment 138 has been raised a notch or two with the revelation that its fate will determine what the EU will agree to in the ACTA - Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
The ACTA is a multi-lateral agreement on intellectual property enforcement, being pushed by the US Trade Representative, which is an international lobby for US corporate interests - in respect of copyright, the powerful Hollywood studios and US broadcasters. ACTA is being negotiated in secret, however, the content is slowly emerging. It aims at stringent measures to enforce copyright on a global basis, and among other things, deals with Internet downloading. Requests for public access to ACTA documents have been refused, but one did emerge on Wikileaks.
Canadian lawyer Michael Geist reports on his blog that there is a rift between the EU and the US in the ACTAnegotiations, which have been taking place in secret for the past year. Michael Geist writes :
"Internet provisions. The Europeans are not prepared to go beyond existing EU law of any Internet provisions. This potential makes the European Parliament's support to block a three strikes system important."
Geist's last sentence is a direct reference to Amendment 138. Thus, we can begin to see a direct link between events in Brussels surrounding the Telecoms Package, and the secret ACTA. If the EU wil not go further than what the law permits, then Amendment 138's role in blocking 3-strikes measures becomes all the more critical.
However, Swedish blogger and European Parliamentary candidate Erik Josefsson, makes a further link between the Telecoms Package and the ongoing ACTA negotations. Josefsson reports that the Swedish Justice Minister, Magnus Graner, is to speak at a meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Sweden .
The Am Cham is an influential body of US business interests, with a strong high-tech contingent. The topic of the Swedish Minister's speech is "Politics for business development" but the Swedish Am Cham website states that the focus of the speech will be stronger enforcement of Intellectual Property Law and better regulation.
Now, stronger enforcement of Intellectual Property law is what ACTA is all about. Even the small amount of official PR from the EU, stresses that ACTA is about enforcment of IP, and not about altering the IP framework.
Better regulation is the offical title of the Telecoms Package - Framework, Access and Authorisation directives - within which Amendment 138 is situated. Amendment 138 has the effect of giving a strong political signal that the European Parliament is opposed to graduated response or 3-strikes measures, in particular the termination of Internet acess as a punishment. These measures have recently found favour with US music and entertainment industry interests.
Thus it would appear that the Swedish Minister could be intending to talk about ACTA, and also about the Telecoms Package and Amendment 138. This is significant because the Swedish government takes over the Presidency of the EU in July.
The issue will be whether the European Parliament will be strong enough to stand up for the interests of European citizens and maintain its support for Amendment 138.
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2009)Amendment 138 puts a spoke in ACTA, iptegrity.com, 22 May 2009.