Gallo report vote campaign
5 minutes to help the JURI committee vote for the good amendments tabled on the Gallo report
What is this vote about?
The Gallo report on the enforcement of "intellectual property rights" (IPR) will be voted in JURI committee of the European Parliament next Tuesday, June 1st in the morning.
It will then be voted upon by the whole Parliament, but will not be amendable at this stage!!
This report is crucial in determining the way forward regarding copyright enforcement in the European Union. Depending on the outcome of the JURI vote, two options are possible:
- The adoption of draft report of Marielle Gallo (EPP, France), which dogmatically calls for more repression of not-for-profit file-sharing, thus paving the way for ACTA (the original report encourages the ACTA negotiations!) and for the revival of IPRED2 directive (with, among other things, criminal sanctions for "inciting, aiding and abetting" infringement), currently on the desk of Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier.
- The adoption of report with the constructive amendments tabled by MEPs from across the political spectrum, promoting an evidence-based approach already perceptible in the digital agenda presented last week by Neelie Kroes, with a call for an impact assessment of the 2004 IPRED directive before adopting any additional measures and a consideration of alternative funding schemes for creation in order to accommodate file-sharing in the creative economy.
In case you missed the last episode:
Françoise Castex (S&D, France), as a shadow rapporteur (person responsible for the dossier) for the S&D group, went last week to a negotiation round with Gallo and the other shadows to try to reach "compromise amendments". She defended the position of the S&D group (stop repression + find new funding schemes), but Marielle Gallo sticked to a hardline and no compromise was reached. It means that all the tabled amendments will be voted one by one instead of the compromise ones (sounds like a regular, democratic process, but it is, sadly, becoming the exception in committee votes).
There is a chance that some members of S&D group (including the Italian Luigi Berlinguer and the Spanish Antonio Massip Hidalgo) will try to bypass Castex and make a compromise anyway. However, the draft report is so bad and Mrs Gallo so unwilling to adopt a reasonable stance that the position of the S&D group should not be diluted into compromise.
When should you take action?
This week (May 23rd-28th) is a "green week" when most MEPs are in their home Member States. However, most assistants will be in Brussels and will stay in touch with their MEP. If we can convince assistants, then it is likely that MEPs will adopt the right amendments.
Please, start calling MEPs' offices right now, but be prepared to take decisive action on Monday, May 31st.
E-mail and call JURI MEPs
Use Political Memory to find the contact info of the relevant MEPs within the JURI committee. Key MEPs are those from the EPP group, but also from the S&D and the ALDE groups.
- MEPs receive hundreds of mails per day, so sending an email -- even if is important -- is often not enough convince them.
- A phonecall to an MEP or his or her assistant has much more impact.
- 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 understanding of what is at stake with the Gallo report, but has a good capacity of understanding.
- If you don't feel comfortable calling MEPs' offices, at least send an e-mail, but make sure to be polite, concise, and to include relevant documents and references.
Here are a few things that you may want to mention in your communications with MEPs and their assistants:
- The original Gallo report 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 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.
Here are some links and documents that you may send or mention to JURI MEPs and their assistants:
- A note by the Social Sciences Research Council debunking the methodology of the TERA study, which alleges enormous job losses in Europe to tackle file-sharing (this "study" was used by M. Gallo as an argument for adopting a tough stance in her report): http://bit.ly/ssrc-piracy
- The Op-Ed in French newspaper Libération by S&D MEPs Françoise Castex and Catherine Trautmann against the TERA study and explaining the group's position on the Gallo report: http://www.liberation.fr/culture/0101637397-il-faut-repenser-la-propriete-intellectuelle (translation will soon be available).
- A compilation of studies pointing to the benefits of file-sharing for the creative ecosystem and the economy at large: http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Studies_on_file_sharing_eng
- La Quadrature's memo on the JURI vote explaining why and how the draft Gallo report must be amended: http://www.laquadrature.net/files/LaQuadratureduNet-20100419_Gallo_report_policy_brief.pdf
- La Quadrature's response to the European Commission's consultation regarding "Online Creative Content": http://www.laquadrature.net/files/LaQuadratureduNet-20100105-Online_Creative_Content_Consultation.pdf
- All of La Quadrature's publications regarding the Gallo report: http://www.laquadrature.net/en/gallo
Which amendments should be adopted, and why?
Members of the European Parliament will work for the public interest by:
- Basing EU policies on sound evidence and empirical data:
- Recognizing the dangers of a one-size-fits-all approach to IPR enforcement:
- Properly assessing the current EU framework regarding IPR enforcement before pushing for further legislative action, especially in the field of criminal law:
- Opposing non-legislative measures to repress online file-sharing of copyrighted works:
- Initiating a debate on the future of the Internet-based creative economy and alternatives to repression: