The European Parliament last week adopted a report on copyright enforcement. In the so-called Gallo report, the parliament calls for stricter enforcement, criminalizing millions of internet users while not leading to a sustainable solution of the filesharing-conflict. Toine Manders of the Dutch liberal party, the VVD, can be held jointly responsible for the repressive policies set out in the report.
In the non-binding report (initial draft, PDF), the European Parliament proposes further-reaching measures to address filesharing. Filesharing is called a “scourge” which can only be addressed by taking further enforcement measures (“[…] online IPR infringements […] [constitute] a major aspect of this worldwide phenomenon in the age of digitisation of our societies, particularly the issue of the balance between free access to the Internet and the measures to be taken to combat this scourge effectively”, par. 29, emphasis added).
MEP Toine Manders of the Dutch liberal party, the VVD, is partly responsible for the repressive policies set out in the report. Manders introduced several amendments (PDF) in which he calls for further measures to tackle copyright infringers, including:
(Amendement 31) “[…] the possibility should be created in the European legal framework of proceeding against infringers of copyright, since international treaties are barely able to address [intellectual property rights] infringements”
He also dramatically suggests that copyright infringements will lead to the end of innovation:
(Amendement 16) “[…] ongoing infringements of [intellectual property rights] will lead to a fade-out of innovation in the EU”
These amendments were adopted in the final version of the report. This is not surprising, as Manders negotiated the Gallo-report on behalf of the liberal fraction of the European Parliament, the ALDE-group. The ALDE-group had a swing vote, and Manders seized this opportunity to steer the policy of the report down the road of more enforcement.
Bits of Freedom regrets the policy chosen in the Gallo report. It is a continuation of the repressive policies on the basis of which millions of Internet users are considered criminals, while these policies will ultimately not be enforceable without spying on users. Moreover, these repressive policies do not encourage creativity. We explained our objections in our letter to the Dutch parliament (Dutch, PDF).
The picture is based on “Piraten, aus Lego” van playroughde, licensed under a Creative Commons Generic 2.0 Attribution license.