European Commission opposes French model in fight against copyright violation
The European Commission put forward a surprise compromise proposal this Friday for the controversial reform of the Telecoms rules and therefore of its original plans for the new regulatory framework for the telecommunications sector. The new paper adopts a reform put forward by the European Parliament during the first reading of the proposals. This is seen by observers as a clear signal against the proposed French "graduated response / 3-strikes" approach to copyright violation. France wants to implement exclusion for repeat offenders without recourse to the courts.
According to the Parliament's amended proposal, only a threat to public safety would justify restricting the basic rights and freedoms of users, without first obtaining permission in a court of law. By adopting the provision, the Commission is heading towards a possible confrontation with France. French president Nicolas Sarkozy had specifically asked the Brussels authorities to ignore the Parliament's request for changes. However, representatives of the French government do not view the amendment as a genuine stumbling block for the proposed "didactic measure" in the fight against illegal filesharing.
On the other hand, another compromise paper produced under French leadership by the European Council working party on Telecommunications and Information Society has allowed a further amendment by the Parliament – no. 166 – to go by the board. This says that "any restrictions to users' rights to access content, service and applications" should be implemented by appropriate measures in accordance with the "principles of proportionality, effectiveness and dissuasiveness".