European Parliament Condemns Plans To Disconnect File-Sharers

Controversial plans to disconnect file-sharers from the internet were condemned in the European Parliament this morning when MEPs voted to avoid adopting measures "conflicting with civil liberties and human rights and with the principles of proportionality, effectiveness and dissuasiveness".

After failing in their ‘sue em all’ approach in dealing with file-sharers, the music industry in particular has been lobbying for ISPs to disconnect their subscribers from the internet. The proposals by the French have been well documented and more recently, the attempts by the British Phonographic Industry to bully ISPs into disconnecting their customers. These proposals have been met with anger and disbelief across Europe but today, common-sense appears to be re-emerging.

According to an Open Rights Group report, Members of the European Parliament have voted this morning to adopt an amendment to the Guy Bono Report and condemning state plans to authorize the disconnection of suspected file-sharers from the internet.

The vote was very close, with 314 MEPs voting in favor of the amendment and 297 voting against.

The text of the amendment “calls on the Commission and the Member States to recognize that the Internet is a vast platform for cultural expression, access to knowledge, and democratic participation in European creativity, bringing generations together through the information society; calls on the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to avoid adopting measures conflicting with civil liberties and human rights and with the principles of proportionality, effectiveness and dissuasiveness, such as the interruption of Internet access.”

Proportionate behavior is not a quality one would immediately associate with the anti-piracy activities of the recording industries, so it’s no surprise that they should attempt to encourage such draconian legislation. Denying European citizens access to the Internet along with its massive scope for learning, education and the spreading of culture, has clearly gone several steps too far, particularly when actioned due to petty personal copyright infringement on a non-commercial scale.

European Parliament spokesperson Malene Folke Chaucheprat said in a statement: “The vote shows that MEPs want to strike a balance between the interests of rights holders and those of consumers, and that big measures like cutting off Internet access shouldn’t be used.”

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