05 May 2009

Last Chance to Save the European Internet

Believe it or not, this saga isn't over, and things are going badly again. The Open Rights Group has a good detailed summary of what's happening, but the short version is this: all of the hard-won victories on the Telecoms Package may come to nought in a vote tomorrow through some outrageous bullying and trickery by national governments (especially UK and France.)

This means we need to write - or, better, phone - our MEPs, and get them to vote as follows:

Here are crucial amendments you should tell MEPs to vote for:

* Trautmann's report
o Amendment 3=7: guarantee of access and distribution of any content/application/service
o Amendment 1CP=2=5=6=9: original 138

* Harbour's report
o Amendment 101=111=117: no discrimination in traffic management policies
o Amendment 102=112=118: regulatory powers against discriminated traffic management policies
o Amendment 62=94=104=119: original 166
o Amendment 96=106=120 : deleting cooperation between ISP and copyright holder about lawful content

As you can see, this has become hideously complicated thanks to the constant to-ing and fro-ing of votes and amendments. Perhaps it's simplest to ask them to vote for the "Citizen's Rights Amendments", and emphasise why it's important to do so. Basically, if they don't, we'll lost net neutrality in Europe, and also the right to judicial reviews before people are thrown off the net on the say-so of companies.

MEPs by country, complete with their direct telephone numbers, can be found on the excellent Quadrature du Net site, which has bags of background info. In the UK, you can find out who your MEPs are by entering your postcode into the WriteToThem service.

Update: This rather poorly-written piece ("digital copyright thieves"? - Sorry, you don't understand the law) suggests that a deal has been done:

Last month, MEPs voted for a bill that read: “No restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end-users, without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities.” But, facing opposition from the Council Of Ministers, they on Tuesday rewrote the passage to read: “Recognising that the internet is essential for education and for the practical exercise of freedom of expression and access to information, any restriction imposed on the exercise of these fundamental rights should be in accordance with the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.”

This is particularly nauseating:

“The spirit of the amendment has been respected ... we have avoided the rejection of the amendment.” Trautmann said the compromise writes a “sense of a principle” in to the bill.

No, you just gave in to bullying, love.

Follow me on Twitter @glynmoody.

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