EU Officials Push Back Against Hollywood… Sorta; Note That Internet Access Should Be A Right… Sorta

from the well,-it's-something dept

The pendulum on the entertainment industry’s push to have countries force ISPs to kick accused (not convicted) file sharers offline via a “three strikes” policy keeps swinging back and forth. While there was some capitulation recently, with the EU Parliament group that was negotiating with the EU Commission agreeing to remove the clause claiming that internet access was a human right, Hephaestus was the first of a few of you to send in word that negotiations have moved back a bit in the other direction. The new agreed upon text says that internet access is a human right, and that anyone should have the right to defend themselves against being kicked off the internet. But… (and it’s a big one) if internet access is such a human right, why should anyone ever need to defend themselves? That’s because the new text doesn’t really mean what it says. It will still allow countries to force ISPs to kick people off the internet without judicial review. The only thing it adds is that people will be able to appeal after the fact. That’s really not that helpful.

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Comments on “EU Officials Push Back Against Hollywood… Sorta; Note That Internet Access Should Be A Right… Sorta”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Why isn’t this being applied to other communications technologies? If someone streams illicit content over a phone line shouldn’t it be reasonable to take away their phones? So what if they have to call 911. Shouldn’t steal precious culture.

We have the technology. We have the ability. We must monitor all lines of communtication in order to prevent the illicit sharing of coroporate-owned content.

It’s the only way to stop copyright infringement. The internet is not a right. Telephones are not a right. Walkie-talkies are not a right.

Justin (user link) says:

Is this real

Restricting the internet reminds me of the facist movements Hitler did, erdaicate knowledge from all those unless privaleged.

I agree internet should be monitored, but free information allows us to grow, share, and hopefully create something new and better. Collaborative ideas have allowed us the best technoligical advances, restricting these forums to collaborate wouldn’t help.

That said if someone uses the internet to do harm to others, yes ban them.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Is this real

Monitoring people is a useless activity.

Let’s start with a couple premises which are obvious via historical observation:

1. No matter what, regardless of right or wrong, people will get what they want.
2. Making laws to “stop” people from getting what they want only creates business opportunities for those willing to ignore stupid laws, and it in no way stops anybody.
3. People will always go about harming other people — intentionally or otherwise.

Given that all of these are true (the proofs are left up to the student) there is no point in banning anybody. Nor is there any point in monitoring. Unless, of course, the point is to waste everybody’s time and money.

jerome (profile) says:

Re: Re: Is this real

Problem with this argument is it can be applied to whatever illegal behaviour on earth. People get killed even though murder if prohibited, even if you put more cameras or more police in the streets. Would you say that banning murder is useless (since it happens anyway)? This is a choice of society. Good questions are:

1) would you like to live in a society where murder is allowed. I would not, I think murder is to be banned.

2) Would yo like to live in a society where download of copyrighted material is allowed? I would say yes, provided there are business models allowing this options (e.g that CwF+RtB thing).

So let’s not skip the debate, there are real reasons to provide.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Is this real

What you’re saying is false.

If everyone wanted to murder people, then no manner of law or restrictions would stop that. The reason murder is not prominent is not because the law is in place, but because the extreme majority of people do NOT want murder.

If murder laws in the US were suddenly abolished overnight, you wouldn’t suddenly see rampant murders all across the country. There would be an increase, for sure, but only from the people who wanted to kill but were scared of the law. The vast majority of people would still have no desire for murder, and would still look down upon anyone who committed murder.

That’s what the real issue with Copyright at this point is: the large majority either disagree with the law, or break the law without even realizing it. Laws that run contrary to society at large simply are not enforceable without oppressive actions…which is what we’re seeing now.

Bubba Gump (profile) says:

Re: Is this real

See, that’s the wrong way to think about it: “if someone uses the internet to do harm to others”

If someone uses a phone to crank call someone, should we ban them from ever using a phone again?

If someone exposes themselves, do we cut off their genitalia? (don’t answer that)
Or, do we forbid them from ever using a trenchcoat again?

The fact is that WEAPONS should be removed from criminals hands. The internet is not a weapon, it’s a tool.

If I stab someone with a fork, should I never be allowed to use a fork again?

Yes, I realize I’m going on a tangent because violating copyright is not really like these other crimes (if you consider it a crime at all).

Cuggull (profile) says:

Is this real

Just to finesse the point of the people getting what they want. It’s really a case of the majority (or critical mass) getting what they want.

After all the “corporations” are just another collection of people and their willing drones. Hence the war for our hearts and minds, and obfuscation of our wants.

To Summarize.

1. People get what they want.
2. People rarely know what they want.

Anonymous Coward says:

Forced disconnection isn’t a rational response even with some kind of hard evidence. If you know who the person (not IP address, as those are not people) is, then you can go after them through existing and perfectly adequate channels for the thing they’ve done. Leaving innocent people no choice but to appeal after the fact is simply unacceptable. How do they appeal? Do they use the convenient web form?

Meanwhile, the people actually doing it won’t ever get caught with any degree of certainty. “Gosh, I don’t know who this ‘Tor’ guy is, but he sure infringes a lot of copyrights, the bastard!”

Nelson Cruz (profile) says:

The final agreed text is not as good as it could be, but I’m still somewhat hopeful about it. It doesn’t specifically require a trial before cutting someone’s internet access, but it does require a “prior fair and impartial procedure […], including the right to be heard” and that “these measures may only be taken with due respect for the principle of presumption of innocence”.

Hopefully this will be interpreted as requiring some sort of judicial hearing before cutting anyone’s access, including weighing in the evidence. Accusations do not establish guilt. Only the courts can do that. Unless the person accused admits wrongdoing and accepts the penalty, I don’t see how he or she could be punished before a full trial.

In France the HADOPI 2 law will probably have to be changed because of this directive. Their “procedure”, although involving a judge doesn’t require the accused to be heard at all. As for the execution of all this, I expect they will probably pressure people to confess and accept a lighter penalty, rather than going to a full trial and risking heavier punishment.

Hopefully, when someone does appeal, the courts will declare the evidence as lacking and this whole thing will come crashing down. Let’s not forget that even network printers have been accused of sharing movies in the US. An IP address reported by a tracker as sharing something is no smoking gun.

Michael Long (profile) says:


“…if internet access is such a human right, why should anyone ever need to defend themselves?”

Freedom of movement is a human right… unless you’re found guilty of theft or assault or embezzlement or fraud and thrown in jail, in which case as far as you’re concerned that particular right has been rescinded for the duration of your stay.

And, one might add, rescinded entirely as a result of your own actions.

DocMenach (profile) says:

Re: Rights

Freedom of movement is a human right… unless you’re found guilty of theft or assault or embezzlement or fraud and thrown in jail, in which case as far as you’re concerned that particular right has been rescinded for the duration of your stay.

But there’s the rub. I’ll bold it for you in case you missed it while you were typing it “… unless you’re found guilty…”. It’s not “if we accuse you a couple times”. You see? The difference here is that they want to kick people off the internet after a couple accusations not actual findings of guilt.

Curtis says:

Real Rights

Real rights are the right to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and the ownership of property. These are the rights that allow us to sustain our lives. When governments try to create new rights they can only do it at the expense of our real rights.

A supposed right to internet access can only be granted by depriving the right of those who create the goods and services needed to deliver an internet connection, in other words their labors are no longer strictly for the sustaining of their own lives, but fulfilling the wants and wishes of others. Those who create the hardware now may not do so for a profit, it must be done for free to fulfill the new imagined right of internet access.

Whether the EU or the USA it seems like we’re all about destroying real rights to deliver up goodies to the voting populace. Of course this was all foreseen by our founders: “When the people find that they can vote themselves money [or the labor and property of others], that will herald the end of the republic.” – Benjamin Franklin

Tor (profile) says:

Errors in article

A couple of quotes from the article:

“The package aims to safeguard the neutrality of the Internet and to better protect people’s privacy while they are online.”

On the contrary. It does not safeguard net neutrality and companies can continue to discriminate on the net if they just provide information about their practices. Neither have I heard any way in which it protects people’s privacy, and I strongly doubt that it does. Especially with EU having the Enforcement directive and the Data retention directive in the background.

The fact that net neutrality wasn’t included was a major disappointment for the Pirate Party.

“The text of the telecoms package now contains a new Internet freedom provision that states that access to the Internet is a human right of every E.U. citizen”

This is obviously false. If Internet access is a human right then why do the Telecoms package implicitly allow disconnecting people by setting the legal standard for how such disconnections may be done?
No, I think they must have misinterpreted the referal to the European Convention of Human Rights in the context of how (not if) such disconnections may be decided (if a member country decided to disconnect people at all that is).

The new text is quite strong. And it’s short too so I’d recommend reading it itself rather than these misleading articles about it. See for example Christian Engström’s (PP) blog.

Ana says:

Re: Errors in article

“It does not safeguard net neutrality and companies can continue to discriminate on the net if they just provide information about their practices. Neither have I heard any way in which it protects people’s privacy, and I strongly doubt that it does” It does not safeguard but it improves the current situation. ISPs will be able to compete for customers also on this basis since it will have to inform customers before signing the contract. On privacy, it intoduces several clauses such as impossibility to place cookies without prior consent, handling of personal information, etc. As part of the agreement the Commission has agreed to launch a consulation possibly followed by legislation just for net neutrality.

The text is a good first step as finally SOME limits have been imposed. Also, the clause where Member States could justify skipping the prior procedure are very limited and under no circumstances could downloading a file be considered an urgency (in case-law it is usually defined as something with immediate irreparable consequences, or an imminent threat to public health or national safety). I’m happy. It could be better, but Ok for now.

Ban Them All! says:

EU is right!

I think they have it completely right. If you use the internet to share files, you should have your internet access permanent revoked.

Likewise, if you kill someone with a knife, you should forever more be banned from using utensils!

In addition, if you stalk someone using your car, no more license…EVER!

And if you prank call someone, take away your phone!

And if you jaywalk, that’s right… bye bye legs!

And if you think a nasty thought… yup… lobotomy!

Think of the problems this will save!

Think of the children!

jezsik (profile) says:

The other side of the coin?

Has anyone looked into the fact that this is a double-edged sword (if I may mix my metaphors). If all it takes is three accusations to be kicked off line, who is allowed to do the accusing? What if ANYone’s accusations are acceptable? What if a corporation is accused? How would the RIAA feel if it lost its internet connection for infringing on the copyright of an artist. I suspect they’d be singing a very different song, so to speak.

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