Gallo report vote campaign
5 minutes to help the JURI committee vote for the good amendments tabled on the Gallo report
THIS REPORT WILL BE VOTED ON JUNE 1st. AS IT STANDS, IT PROMOTES PRIVATE COPYRIGHT POLICES (HADOPI, UK DE Bill, etc), FAVORS ACTA NEGOTIATIONS AS WELL AS THE REVIVAL OF IPRED 2 DIRECTIVE (ie. More criminal sanctions).
GET INVOLVED!! You participation can help to change the outcome of the vote.
What is this vote about?
The Gallo report on the enforcement of "intellectual property rights" (IPR) will be voted in the committee for legal affairs (JURI) 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 Gallo report calls for the creation of private copyright police, where infringement are dealt in an extra-legislative way, with cooperation with the Internet Service Providers, such as in the "three strikes" policies of the first HADOPI or DeBill laws.
- The adoption of report with the constructive amendments tabled by MEPs from across the political spectrum, promoting an end to the blind repression and 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 episodes:
- Françoise Castex (S&D, France), as a shadow rapporteur (person responsible for the dossier) for the S&D group, and author of amendments radically opposed to Mrs Gallo's repressive logic, went last week to a negotiation round with Marielle 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 will try to bypass Mrs 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 and their ALDE and Green colleagues should not be diluted into compromise.
- LATEST NEWS: Marielle Gallo sent her voting list (recommendations for the vote distributed as a rapporteur) including fake compromise amendments, that is, the same amendments as the ones that were rejected, while pretending there is a compromise when there isn't. An amendment is only a compromise if it has been accepted by the shadow-rapporteur, and this is not the case. MEPs should be informed of this blatant misconduct, disrespecting procedure and manners.
When should you take action?
Please start calling Members of the JURI committee's offices on Monday, May 31st and Tuesday, Jun 1st morning.
E-mail and call JURI MEPs
Use Political Memory to find the contact info of the relevant MEPs within the JURI committee. Key MEPs to convince 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 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 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 original Gallo report calls for private copyright police, when infringement is done in an extra-legilsative (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.
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 (English translation available here).
- 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
- The last press release of La Quadrature on this issue
- All of La Quadrature's publications regarding the Gallo report: http://www.laquadrature.net/en/gallo
- La Quadrature's voting list
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:
Which amendments should be rejected, and why?
- pushes for further criminalization of IPR infringements without distinguishing for-profit activities from non-commercial sharing of cultural works between individuals
- calls for extra-judicial measures against IPR infringements
- calls for a propaganda campaign based on statements that are known to be unsubstantiated
- relies on an erroneous interpretation of international copyright law
- promotes a repressive approach without even calling for a prior objective and impartial assessment of current IPR enforcement measures
- calls for necessary and biased communications campaign on IPR targeting young people
- alleges that file sharing is the direct cause of job losses and is prejudicial to the European economy, despite many impartial studies pointing to the contrary
- suggests that freedom of expression and the right to privacy on the one hand, and intellectual property rights on the other hand are of equal importance