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In 2012, three years after the conclusion of the legislative process, I’ve been noticing references to something called the Telecom Reform Package. Having followed the policy since 2007, I was bit puzzled why I’d never seen it before, and in particular, why I would never call it that. Had I really missed the correct name of the policy I studied?

 The answer is no, I hadn’t, but people who are coming to fresh since 2009, are picking up on a confusing  nomenclature when they try to check the official sources.  Here’s why!

 If you want to give it the full, official name, pershaps you should use this:

 

 Proposal for  a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL amending European Parliament and Council Directives 2002/19/EC, 2002/20/EC and 202/21/EC Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL amending European Parliament and Council Directives 2002/22/EC and 2002/58/EC Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL establishing the European Electronic  Communications Markets Authority

 Of course, that is unwieldy and  unrealistic.

 The Council of Ministers had another monicker for it  - the ‘Better Regulation directive’ and the ‘Citizens rights’ directive. Neither of these names gained any traction outside the Council, possibly because those who knew the process could see the hypocrisy in them.

 So it became known by a shorthand title of the ‘Telecoms Package’.

 The ‘Telecoms Package’ is the name used in the European Parliament official procedure file from 2007-2009. In my opinion, that is sufficient basis to justify saying that it’s official title is the ‘Telecoms Package’.

 From my own memory and experience, it was always referred to in speech as the ‘Telecoms Package’.

 In EU policy-making, the word ‘package’ is used  when there are two or more piece of legislation that are being considered together. In this instance, there were 5 existing directives being reviewed together,  and  a new Regulation being proposed. The word ‘package’ is clearly appropriate.

 The European Commission’s old website explained clearly that the  the EU telecoms framework was made up of a package of 5 directives.  Hence, it would be logical to use the word ‘package’ in the day-today references to the legislative review.

 The Commission’s new website* does clearly refer to it as the ‘EU Telecoms Package’ so that name   does arguably remain consistent.

 The European Parliament’s legislative website, recently revised, retains the name of ‘Telecoms Package’.

  However, it is actually not surprising that academics and journalists and others who were not close to the process might be confused. The process is referred to by the European Commission as the Telecoms Review, Revision,  and Reform  in different places and sometimes also as the ‘amended’ framework. Sometimes  two or more of these  expressions are inter-changeably used in the same Commission document.

 The Commission’s very first press release in November 2007, refers in the same document to the ‘Telecoms Reform’ proposals,  the ‘Telecoms Reform Package’ and  (right at the end, next to  press pack availability) the EU ‘Telecoms Package’.  I assume that those who didn’t know, have dug out this release, found the first of these,  and assumed that it was  the correct terminology.

 To confuse matters further, some media reports from the time the Package was being processed in the EU legislature, have also used the words  ‘review’ and ‘reform’ inter-changeably.

 What  might have conflated  matters further was an odd, floating landing page that looked like the European Commission website, but did not connect to any of the menus on the official site. This page was headlined  ‘The Telecoms Reform’. It was indexed by Google and came up in search rankings. It could easily have been found by naïve researchers.  Anyway, now that the Commission has re-worked its website, presumably, this landing page ( if it was  created by the Commission?)  will be pulled down.

 Is the word ‘reform’ correct at all?

 I would argue that this was a review or a revision, of Europe’s telecoms rules, but never a reform. The main reform of Europe’s telecommunications regulation occurred in the 1990s and was crystalised in the 2002 Telecoms Framework. If you look over that, you will see a clear shift in policy.

 If you go back to the European Commission’s original Impact Assessment**, the word ‘review’ is used, but the word ‘reform’ is never mentioned. The Impact Assessment is prepared by the Commission staff who are directly responsible for the policy, so one assumes that what they write is what was intended. 

 If you study the ‘Telecoms Package’ , (and how it was processed through the EU)  you will see changes to update, revise, move forward, or amend policy to reflect experience (or indeed, lobbying demands). What you don’t see is any significant change of direction in the underlying policy.

 I’m happy to be corrected, but I think I am right here.

Post-script – the most controversial aspect of the Telecoms Package concerned copyright and three strikes measures – for that story, read my book  The Copyright Enforcement Enigma   !

**The references for this other documents are all in my book. The Copyright Enforcement Enigma

This is an original article from Iptegrity.com. If you refer to it or to its content,  you should cite my name as the  author, and provide a link back to iptegrity.com.  Media and Academics – please cite as Monica Horten,  What is the correct name for the ‘Telecoms Package?’ ,  in www.iptegrity.com,  29 October   2012 . Commercial users - please contact me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Copyright Enforcement Enigma tells the story of the 2009 Telecoms Package and how the copyright industries tried to hijack it.

'accurate and absorbing account of the story of the Telecoms Package' -Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology

'...a must read for those interested in knowing in depth about copyright enforcement and Internet.' -Journal of Intellectual Property Rights.  

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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

European Parliament launch for Copyright Enforcement Enigma

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Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten, European expert on Internet policy and Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. She is an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on Cross-border flow of Internet traffic and Internet freedom (MSI-INT). She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012. Iptegrity  offers expert insights into Internet policy. Iptegrity has a core readership in the Brussels policy community, and has been cited in the media. Please acknowledge Iptegrity when you cite or link.  For more, see IP politics with integrity

Reads like a legal thriller!


The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the ‘Telecoms Package’

by Monica Horten

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