European Parliament Says No to Three-Strikes Law

The European Parliament has voted in favor of an amendment that will prevent member states from implementing three-stikes laws. Disconnecting alleged file-sharers based on evidence from anti-piracy lobby groups restricts the rights and freedoms of Internet users, according to the amendment.

The power of anti-piracy lobbyists has grown significantly across Europe this year. In the UK, six major ISPs are working together with the music industry to start mass warning file-sharers. France has gone even further, and proposed a law that will enable the entertainment industry to disconnect alleged pirates on their third warning.

Both the MPAA and RIAA have pushed other countries to adopt similar legislation as well, but it will be hard for them to succeed in Europe. In April, the European Parliament spoke out against these anti-piracy measures, by saying it would be “conflicting with civil liberties and human rights and with the principles of proportionality, effectiveness and dissuasiveness”. Yesterday, this statement was backed up by an official vote.

The amendment, drafted by Guy Bono and other members of the European Parliament, was adopted by an overwhelming majority. 573 parliament members voted in favor while only 74 rejected. Satisfied with this outcome, Bono stated in a response to the vote: “You do not play with individual freedoms like that,” and said that the French government should review its three-strikes law.”

The vote was welcomed in other member states as well. Swedish EU parliamentarian Christofer Fjellner said in a comment: “What’s important about this decision is that now it’s clear that you can’t force [internet service] providers to ban people from the Internet without a legal process.”

It is scary to see how lobby groups are awarded powers that should only belong to law-enforcement agencies. Evidence should never be collectedly by parties who gather it in their own interests, and it is a relief to see that the European Parliament agrees on this.

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