EU Rejects ’3 Strikes’ for File-Sharers

The European Parliament has approved a report which goes against the French plan to implement a '3 strikes' regime for alleged P2P copyright infringers. The proposals to increase security and ensure freedom on the Internet were accepted, but disconnecting users from the Internet was ruled out.

For the third time in a year the European Parliament has spoken out against tougher anti-piracy legislation that would allow alleged file-sharers to be disconnected from the Internet based on evidence from anti-piracy lobby groups. Instead, they chose to protect rights and freedoms of Internet users.

The report from Greek MEP Stavros Lambrinidis concerning security and the protection of fundamental freedoms on the Internet, has been accepted by an overwhelming majority. The European Parliament adopted the report with 481 votes in favor, 25 against and 21 abstentions. French proposals that would allow a ‘graduated response’ aka ’3 strikes’ regime to deal with alleged copyright infringers were rejected.

“While ensuring that the Internet is more secure is a legitimate goal for our societies, we must monitor and restrict the use of surveillance and control techniques that threaten our freedoms, especially in cases which question its necessity, proportionality and effectiveness,” says the report.

In a clear snub to both the French government and copyright holders the report says, “Governments or private companies should not see the denial of such access as a means of imposing sanctions, as proposed in some countries in the union.”

The report further states that computer and electronic literacy is the new literacy of the 21st century and that guaranteeing Internet access to all European citizens is synonymous with guaranteeing education.

The French tried to protect their upcoming 3 Strikes law, but failed. An amendment proposed to read, “Access to the Internet should not be the subject of abuse for purposes of illegal activities and that a balance between the various basic rights guaranteed in Community legislation must be respected,” was rejected.

At this stage it is unclear if this pressure from the European Parliament will cause the French to reconsider their ’3 strikes’ plans. It would not be the first time Sarkozy has chosen to ignore the democratic vote.

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