In recent years pro-copyright lobbyists have pushed governments worldwide to adopt harsher anti-piracy legislation, and yesterday they booked another significant victory. With 328 votes in favor, 245 against and 81 abstentions, the controversial Gallo report was adopted by the European Parliament.
Named after the French MEP Marielle Gallo, the report could help turn the Internet into a copyright police state. It offers local governments and lobbyists an excuse to introduce harsher anti-piracy measures targeted at illicit file-sharers.
As is often the case, various entertainment industry lobby groups were involved in pushing Members of Parliament in favor of the report. In doing so, they fabricated artists support in faked petitions, (ab)using the names of various artists who are dead, underage, unaware or simply non-existent.
Unfortunately the sleazy tactics came out too late to have an impact on the result of the vote, but we don’t want to withhold them from our readers. Below are some of the things that have been uncovered thus far, thanks to La Quadrature.
One of the petitions in support of the Gallo report was sent in by Eurocinema, representing film and television producers in Europe. A close inspection of this list cast doubt on the legitimacy of the document, to say the least.
Among the signatories of the petition we find the Hungarian filmmaker László Kovács, who died three years ago, long before the Gallo report was introduced. More suspicion is raised by the fact that one third of all names on the list are Hungarian. For some, Google didn’t return any results, so it’s unclear whether they exist at all.
To find out more about the apparent huge support for the report from Hungary, Amelia Andersdotter of the Pirate Party decided to contact two people listed on the petition. Interestingly, the Hungarian directors Ibolya Fekete and Attila Janisch both told her that they never signed a petition.
Another petition from the entertainment industry was submitted by the music industry lobby group IFPI. Like their counterpart Eurocinema, the names included on IFPI’s petition raise some doubts as well.
For starters, the petition includes the name of the 7-year old Moldovan singer Cleopatra Stratan. Apparently the Moldovan youth is very involved with European politics, even though they can barely read.
Aside from a pre-teen signatory the petition also included a few duplicate names, several non-EU citizens, some artists who don’t even seem to exist, and the French singer Michel Sardou who previously said “I’m a pirate.”
It is unbelievable that lobby groups get away with manipulating the European Parliament in this fashion. Can they get much lower than this? Both IFPI and Eurocinema were contacted to explain the irregularities pointed out above, but it’s unlikely that we will ever get a reply.