Gallo report plenary vote campaign
☢ RED ALERT! ☢
Take 5 minutes to help counter dogmatic copyright enforcement in Europe.
STOP a dogmatic vision of filesharing!
STOP a push towards always more enforcement!
NO Private Copyright police in Europe!
If voted in the European Parliament, the Gallo report will promote a dogmatic, repressive vision of Copyright for the future of EU policymaking, calling for instance for more repression of non-for-profit online filesharing. On the other hand, an alternative resolution promotes a more balanced approach, with more enforcement of counterfeiting of physical goods, and a call for more reflexion on the impact of filesharing.
You can act now to help Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to understand the importance of these issues and vote for the alternative report instead of the Gallo report.
The Gallo report
The "Gallo report" is an initiative report (non-legislative text) initiated by the French EPP, Sarkozyst, Member of the European Parliament Marielle Gallo, "on enforcement of intellectual property rights in the internal market". It has been adopted in the JURI committee (committe for legal affairs), and will be voted in plenary on July 8th.
- amalgamates a vague notion of "online IPR infringements" (including non-commercial ones) with physical goods counterfeiting (that poses real threat to consumers health and safety);
- calls for more repression in the name of dogmatic vision of a terrible prejudice caused by filesharing, while the US Government Accountability Office recently concluded that industry figures were all inflated, that positive impact of filesharing should be considered, and while many studies prove that the prejudice is minimal or inexistent. Gallo report calls for a new criminal enforcement directive (IPRED2), when no impact assessment has been made of the previous enforcement directive (IPRED) so far.
- calls for "non-legislative" means of combating filesharing. Such "non-legislative" means, also called "voluntary agreements" were also described in a communication by the European Commission on "IPR enforcement" (dated Sept.11th 2009). They are contractual based sanctions against individuals doing non-for-profit filesharing, and can be decided between rights-holders and operators: restriction of access, taargeted filtering, bandwidth cap, etc... This is literally an open door to private copyright police and justice.
The rapporteur, Marielle Gallo, made sure that any amendment calling for a distinction between for-profit and non-for-profit filesharing was rejected during the vote in JURI committee.
The alternative proposal to Gallo report
An alternative report has been tabled by the S&D group. It includes many amendments that were rejected, according to the will of the rapporteur Gallo. Amendments from the vote in the Legal affairs committee (JURI), and amendments coming from the Consumers (IMCO) and Industry (ITRE) committees also rejected.
The alternative proposal:
- is much stronger than the initial report on combatting counterfeiting of physical goods
- is stronger at protecting consumers against harmful counterfeit products
- condemns for-profit "online infringement", but stops there.
- is overall much more consensual and less dangerous than the initial Gallo report.
(alternative proposal is still in the final stage of negotiations and will be tabled on monday)
Alternative MUST be voted in place of the original Gallo report!
The vote is set for Thursday, July 8th, during the 12:00 session.
A request for postponing the vote will be presented in the conference of Presidents on Monday.
All Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) must be targeted. They are under extremely heavy pressure from the entertainment industries and publishers' lobbies.
In particular, effort should be focused on:
- ALDE (liberals) Members. They are key to swing a vote between the two major groups. In JURI, under influence of their member Toine Manders, they helped the rapporteur Gallo to have her report adopted, and all amendments rejected according to her will.
- EPP (conservatives) Members. They may be hard to convince, as rapporteur Gallo is from their political group, and as they historically were on a more repressive line. On the other hand in previous legislature many of them voted along the 88% of the European Parliament on the amendment 138 of the Telecoms Package (saying that restrictions to fundamental rights should only be ordered by the judicial authority), which goes against the notion of "extra-judicial means" of combating filesharing. Also EPP Members from Spain, Poland, Sweden, may be easier to convince. Also ultra-liberals could be convinced that filesharing is at worst a market problem, and that the EU legislator doesn't have to intervene to help an industry innovate... and/or that these industries being mostly US based, it is not the role of the EU legislator to help them.
- S&D (socialists) Members from Spain and Italy, under heavy influence by the producers, publishers and authors' lobbies may have trouble supporting the alternative proposal.
E-mail and call Members of the European Parliament
Use Political Memory to find the contact info of the relevant MEPs.
- MEPs receive hundreds of mails per day, so sending an email -- even if is important -- is often not enough to convince them.
- A phonecall has much more impact. Most of the time you will talk to assistants who are young and intelligent people.
- The best is to send an email, then call. You can start by asking "(Hello my name is XY and I live in Z) I just sent you an email, have you read it? No? Let me tell you about it... ".
- Always be polite. Your interlocutor is working under a lot of pressure. He or she has probably only little knowledge of what is at stake with the Gallo report, but has a good capacity of understanding.
- Make sure to be concise -the phone call may last only 1 or 2 minutes, or just a few seconds- and to include relevant documents and references.
- Always follow-up a phone call by email (to send documents and references discussed over the phone, to answer to unanswered question, to go further). Rinse and repeat. ;)
Here are a few things that you may want to mention in your communications with MEPs and their assistants:
- The original Gallo report, as voted in JURI, lacks fundamental distinctions between commercial IPR violations that endanger consumers (counterfeiting) and not-for-profit infringements, such as file-sharing. Failing this, the final report could strengthen potentially disproportionate and dangerous enforcement policies whose impact has never been assessed.
- The original Gallo report calls for private copyright police, when infringement is done in an extra-legislative (extra-judicial) way, upon accusation by the rights-holders, and with the cooperation of the Internet Service Providers. Such schemes comparable to the "three strikes" policies (HADOPI, DEBill laws) have been so far a political and technical failure, and negate fundamental rights (right to a fair trial, freedom of communication).
- The increasing repression that we have seen develop in the last fifteen years has not benefited artists ; Internet users are being tracked down by rights holders and are treated like dangerous criminals; Liberty-killer schemes such as graduated response of Net filtering are being implemented ; This trend profoundly undermines the protection of fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression, privacy and the right to a fair trial.
- There is no consensus on the fact that file-sharing is damaging artistic creation in Europe. The US Government Accountability Office has recently released a study explaining that all the studies pointing to important financial losses are based on a flawed methodology. At the same time, an increasing number of reports underlines the neutral or positive impact of file-sharing on creation, access to culture, and the economy at large.
- Today, the defense of creativity, innovation but also of the rights and freedoms of EU citizens should compel policy-makers to break with the harmful dogmatism induced by a few industry groups.
- The Parliament must promote a balanced and evidence-based approach to IPR enforcement.
Please write here the questions that may arise while participating (practical details, blocking arguments, etc.). We will try to answer them as quickly as possible.