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MEPs back down on due process for disconnecting file sharers

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 25 Oct 2009 3:35 User comments (1)

MEPs back down on due process for disconnecting file sharers A provision which would require a judicial order before the government could have someone's internet account shut off has been removed from the Telecoms Package being negotiated between European Parliament and the European Council.
The amendment, approved overwhelmingly earlier this year by MEPs, said "No restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end users, without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities save when public security is threatened."

It would have called into question the legality of laws promoted by the recording industry as the solution to illegal file sharing. Record labels favor laws which allow them to punish alleged copyright infringement without being required to prove their charges in court first.

So far France has followed the industry's blueprint very closely. Their 3 strikes law, which has been approved by both legislators, and in a revised version by the country's top court, does now require judicial approval of internet disconnection.

But that doesn't mean a content owner would be required to prove the person whose account is being shut down actually did anything wrong.

Some officials in the UK are also in favor of 3 strikes style legislation. Lawmakers who oppose such a plan have spoken out about the idea, saying record label losses are the result of poor business decisions and the public shouldn't be punished.

ISPs are opposed for more practical reasons. They complain that hackers and WiFi networks with easily broken encryption make reliably identifying illegal file sharers impossible.

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1 user comment

129.10.2009 15:57

While not a UK resident, I can only note that it's a classic game in politics to "vehemently" oppose some unpopular legislation, then allow it in backroom deals; it's the classic "bait and switch". That way, when irate constituents show up with pitchforks and torches, the politico(s) can point to their oh-so-brave fight against evil, while still getting their lovely little kickbacks.

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