Campaign-Save amendment 138 and Internet Freedom from Council of EU

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Save amendment 138 and Internet Freedom from Council of EU!

What ?

Amendment 138 against “graduated response”, voted on Sept 24th in first reading of the “Telecoms Package” by 9/10 of the European Parliament may be removed from the text on Nov. 27th by decision of the Council of the European Union. Citizens from every Member State are invited to write an open letter to their representatives in the Council in order to inform and urge them to vote against any attempt of deletion.


On Oct. 30th, the French Senate voted in first reading a law implementing “graduated response” against alleged file sharers, that Nicolas Sarkozy personally promoted(LINK). This law gives an administrative authority the power to order internet access cut without a trial.

Many evidence showed that the French President, currently at the Presidency of the European Union, planned to propagate “graduated response” to the whole Europe(LINKS), by inserting in the “Telecoms Package” directives the possibility for Member States to implement it.

Amendment 138, voted in first reading of the “Telecoms Package” states in contrast that only the judicial authority can impose restrictions on users' fundamental rights and freedoms(LINK). This disposition, if it remains in the Telecoms Package, could block the propagation of the French “graduated response” to the rest of Europe (and definitely make it illegal in France).

Amendment 138 was voted by 88% of the elected Members of the European Parliament. The European Commission accepted it, stating that it reaffirms basic principles of European law(LINK). The Council of European Union, executive branch under heavy pressure, may be about to delete it from the directive in its decision of Nov. 27th. Such a removal, opaquely negociated, would represent a bypass of the democratic European institutions by the French Presidency in order to better serve the interests of Vivendi and the French cinema (SACD).

It is crucial for European Democracy that this amendment remains in the “Telecoms Package” and that transparency is cast on this process. Every citizen can help.


Why ?

Sarkozy wants to propagate “graduated response” to Europe.

R. Hyeronimi declared, on a conference held with Vivendi repreesntatives in the French embassy in Berlin, that “....” The content industries (Vivendi, French cinema represented by SACD) lobbied hard for the “graduated response” to be propagated in Europe. (link: SACD letter)

The French “graduated response” (Olivennes Law or HADOPI) is a bad and dangerous law (link to translated version).

An administrative authority acts upon flaky immaterial “proofs” of counterfeiting provided by the content industries. Its inquiries involve access to stored connection data containing personnal data. It sends personalized warnings to the alleged infringers. Those automatic, heavy accusations cannot be appealed. Upon recidive, the administrative authority orders internet access cut (with interdiction to get a new access.). Innocent people will inevitably be disconnected while many people will use encryption and anonymization to evade the law. This law doesn't add a single extra cent to the creators' income.

Amendment 138 blocks the French law

Some might argue whether internet access is a fundamental right or not. The right to a due process and to protection of privacy are fundamental rights that are restricted by the French administrative authority. Nicolas Sarkozy personnaly wrote a letter to Jose Manuel Barroso to ask him to remove amendment 138 because “quote...”.

“Telecoms Package” shouldn't regulate content

The innovation models of the digital environment are based on the essential principle of “network neutrality”. You cannot ask the operator to judge what content shall go through their networks. The notion of “lawful content” is present many times in the whole text.

Political Europe is at stake.

The European Parliament is the representation of the European People. It decided by 88% that only a judge can impose restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens. Many stated that this recalls as a basic principle of European law by C. Trautmann(link), V. Reding(link), etc. Political Europe can only be achieved if the will of the People is respected. The executive body (the Council of EU) cannot just “remove” a decision taken by 88% of the Parliament and approved by the Commission. Putting light on the European lawmaking process is useful. The decisions of the Council of EU are often opaque and the Council representatives may negociate their votes. It's important for people to know and understand what their country stands for in this debate. Attracting citizens and press attention on the process can help achieving this goal of better transparency for the European institutions.


When ?

The Council of European Union shall vote and issue its opinion on Nov. 27th. Each Member State's representation shall take its decision before that meeting. The earlier the contacts will be established, the more chance there will be to attract press attention and to obtain a response.


How ?

1/ Identify the minister in charge of the Telecoms in your Member State. (Also identify whether it acts upon a mandate by the national parliament or not, see below.) 2/ Write a short open letter to him asking to vote against the deletion of amendment 138, and asking for an official position. 3/ Phone to the ministry 3 days after having sent the letter to know how it is being received and processed, and when answer shall be given. 4/ Fill-in the wiki to add your actions to the list of actions taken. 5/ Do the same with the chiefs of the major political groups in your national parliament. They can easily have direct contact with the concerned minister.


General Advice

  • It might not be easy to get an answer from the minister but it is worth trying.
  • Getting democratic and mediatic attention on the issue is important.
  • As a secondary objective, raising media attention on the fact that the minister has been asked not to reject the amendment but rejects it anyway can be useful
  • Different rules apply in different Member States.
    • In some countries (France, ?, ?, ?), the representative has full initiative and doesn't account to anyone.

In these countries, you shall directly call the Ministry, and ask for the office in charge with representation in the Council of EU.

    • In other countries (Belgium, Netherlands, ?, ?,...), the representative comes with a mandate from the national Parliament. It means the Parliament controls what the country says in the Council.

In these countries, you shall contact various the political groups from the parliament, and ask them to mandate the representative in the Council for asking to keep amendment 138.

  • You can contact your representative as an individual. It might have more weight if you do it on behalf of a non-profit organization, a company, or as an academics. It can even have more weight if several NGOs, journalists, etc. ask the same question.
  • Once it is sent, publish and send your open letter to the press. Aim in priority for the journalists and media that covered the previous steps of am.138 (LINK RdP)
  • Other ideas.... ?