November 12, 2009

Demo-Crazy

The European Parliament is working on a resolution on the Stockholm Programme. (So this is, thanks God, not legislation. But it is important anyhow.)

The Stockholm Programme points out how to work when it comes to judicial procedures, criminal trials, migration and everything that is connected with surveillance and Big Brotherism. This will be synced with the roll out of the new EU Treaty, The Lisbon Treaty.

The papers for this afternoons vote in the joint meeting with the JURI, LIBE and AFCO committees where distributed in the very last minute. There are almost 500 amendments and lots of compromise amendments. Some members did get the papers less than three hours before the meeting. Some papers did not reach the members at all. So most of the parlamentarians have not had a chance to more than glance at the documents. There have been no analysis, no prior discussion and no possibility for cross party border talks.

This is simply ridiculous.

Naturally, some members object. So at the beginning of this afternoons meeting they wanted to postpone the vote.

Then there was an objection to the suggestion to discuss this at all. (It´s Thursday. All members have planes home to catch.)

So it was decided not to discuss to postpone the vote, as it would take to long.

Then the voting on the amendments to the Stockholm Programme started - without anyone knowing what they really are doing.

ACTA: Do they really want to risk their brands?

There is a lot of buzz about ACTA. This international trade agreement was ment to stop counterfeit handbags, jeans, watches and other goods. I have no objections to that.

Then the film- and music industry got envolved. File sharing became an issue. And suddenly there are leaks suggesting that ACTA will contain copyright focused measures related to the internet.

Apparently there are discussions about disconnecting filesharers from the internet, internet cable operators having to inspect and filter traffic etc. – in these secret negosiations.

Rumors even suggests that customs officers will have to inspect laptops, smartphones and MP3-players in the hunt for copyright protected material. All of this is simply bad, as it is in conflict with citizens rights and an open internet for all.

Now, this should be food for thought for all the companies whos' products originally was going to be protected by ACTA – before it expanded to filesharing and copyright related issues.

Do the owners of Nike, Boss, Diesel, Camel, Swatch and all other trendy brands really want to be associated with internet censorship, limitations of freedom of information and measures that infringes on peoples privacy?

Imagine the harm that will be done to brands like Adidas, Marlboro and Prada if they where to be considered responsible for hunting down a generation of young people on the internet!

If I where in their shoes – I would use all my influense to get all references to file sharing, internet filtering etc. out of the ACTA trade agreement. Anti counterfeit, yes! Hunting file sharers, no!

November 10, 2009

Brands and counterfeit vs. file sharing

In the EU, the word "piracy" is often used both for counterfeit goods and for file sharing. Naturally, this is a deliberate way to confuse the discussion.

The Pirate Party has no problems with brands, as they give consumers important information. And we are against counterfeit of goods. Counterfeit infringes on the brand. And counterfeit goods are usually poorer and sometimes plain dangerous. People have the right to know what goods they are buying and who the producer is.

The Pirate Party is also pro non commercial file sharing between private individuals.

From our standpoint, everything becomes strange and wrong when the EU tries to confuse counterfeit with file sharing. E.g. in a communication from the EU Commission, practically all the text is about counterfeit - but still everything boils down to measures to prevent file sharing. The Commission ought to know better.

Swedish Pirate MEP, Christian Engström, spent this morning in the European Parliaments committee on legal affairs to try to get people to grasp this.

This is also an important distinction when it comes to the ACTA trade agreement - that also tries to bundle counterfeit with file sharing.

[In Swedish]

November 9, 2009

EU Telecomspackage: Update

Some updates on the EU Telecoms Package from the blog of Pirate MEP Engström:

Landmarks in the Telecoms text

Telecoms Package quick FAQ

Might be useful.

November 5, 2009

EU Telecoms Package: We might have won...

Press Release from the Swedish Pirate Party

EU negotiations on Telecoms Package completed

Earlier this night there was an agreement in the negotiations on the EU Telecoms Package.

First of all, it is notable that the European Parliament delegation stod up and managed to maintain support for the principle that Member States should not be allowed to disconnect people from the internet without prior judicial procedure. This is more than most people expected when the meetings began Wednesday evening.

"It is a plesant surprise that the European Parliament stod firm on this principle. This is a direct result of the hard work by thousands upon thousands of Internet users. They have contacted their politicians, networked on blogs and raised media attention on this issue. Without them, there would have been no progress on this in political circles" Cristian Engström, Swedish Pirate MEP, says.

Until the very last minutes of the negotiations in the EP delegation, there was a discussion about Member States possibility to cut people of from the Internet without prior judicial procedure. This will only be possible in situations of extreme national emergency (European Convention, article 15). There hould be no possibility to use this legal framework to disconnect e.g. file sharers from the net.

If a Member State wants to cut citizens of from the net in other cases (like in France), this must be under strict rules respecting citizens rights. The judicial procedure shall be prior to the measures taken. It should respect the principle of presumption of innocence and the right to privacy. This must be done with respect for general principles of Community law, including effective judicial protection, due process and the right to be heard of the person or persons concerned. All measures must respect the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

"I think it would have been very difficult to get a text with a wider protection of citizens rights. It is possible that the text now at hand is more far reaching in this respect than any other that have been discussed. But still, I must stress that we think it is wrong for governments to cut people of from the Internet at all" Christian Engström concludes.

The European Parliament will confirm this agreement in a vote at its' November session.

More information:

The final text is to be found on Christian Engströms blog.

There you can also find the different proposals and posts about the negotiation process this autumn.

More information:

Christian Engström (PP), MEP, The Swedish Pirate Party
+46 706 633 780

Rick Falkvinge (PP), leader of the Swedish Pirate Party
+46 708 303 600

Henrik Alexandersson at MEP Engströms office in the EP
+32 484 088 770 (mobile) or +32 228 47368

[In Swedish]

(Please excuse any misspellings and / or half-baked language, as this is translated at 4.30 in the morning from a material that is partly in legal English written by people from many different countries.)

November 4, 2009

EU Telecoms Package: New meetings today

Press Release from the Swedish Pirate Party, November 4:th 2009

EU: Negotiations on the EU Telecoms Package tonight

Our line is that the principles of "amendment 138" must be defended. This is to say that Members States should not be allowed to cut people of from the Internet (if any MS decides on such measures) with less than a prior, fair trial in a court of law.

In this process there are many proposals, compromises and ideas flying around. The Swedish Pirate MEP Christian Engström says...

"Right now it is essential that the European Parliament stays with the core values of amendment 138. We would like to stick to amendment 138, more or less in its original form. But we have conflicting judicial advice about that possibility."

"A key issue is if we will be able to stop French Hadopi-laws and British Mandelson-measures. If the text negotiated do not do this, we cannot accept it."

"I am worried that other MEP:s in the delegation might be willing to compromise. Or that they will give up, exhausted. We call upon them to focus on the principle that the European Parliament at several occasions has voted for - that government should not be able to punish people without a fair, prior trial. This is also fundamental for a democracy respecting rule of law" Engström concludes.

Also see Christian Engströms blog:

http://christianengstrom.wordpress.com/2009/11/02/telecom-package-meetings-on-wednesday/

Time table:

7 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, the European Parliaments Delegation to the Conciliation Committee on the EU Telecoms Package will meet.

8 p.m. there will be a Trialouge Meeting (leaders of the EP Delegation, leaders of the Councils delegation and representatives for the Commission).

After this there will be a brief report from the Trialouge to the Delegation.

9 p.m. there will be a meeting with the full Conciliation Committee (27 from the EP, 27 from the Council and represenatives from the Commission). At this meeting the EU-Precidency will be represented by the Swedish Minister for Infrastructure, Åsa Torstensson. Commissioner Vivian Reding will also be present.

Or - if the negosiations get stuck - there will be another Trialogue Meeting at 9 p.m.

Thursday morning at 9 a.m. the Delegation leaders from the EP, Torstensson and Reding will hold a press conference.

Thursday at 10 a.m. the Green Group in the EP and Swedish Pirate Party will hold a press conference. (Both press conferences are to be held in room PHS 0A050 in the European Parliament in Brussels.)

Contact details:

Christian Engström (PP), Swedish Pirate MEP, +46 706 633 780.

Rick Falkvinge (PP), leader of the Swedish Pirate Party, +46 708 303 600.

Henrik Alexandersson at MEP Engströms office in the EP, +32 484 088 770 (mobile) or +32 228 47368.

[In Swedish]

November 3, 2009

EU Telecoms Package: Flying a kite

On Pirate MEP Christan Engströms blog - you will find an sketch for a text to the Conciliation Committee. It´s just an idea. Please give feedback.

Can it be that simple?

EU Telecoms Package: The week ahead

Tomorrow evening (Wednesday) there will be a new round of negotiations on the EU Telecoms Package. First there will be a meeting with the European Parliaments delegation to the Conciliation Committee. Later on, we will probably have a full Conciliation Committee meeting (27 from the EP + 27 from the Council + Commissioner Reding + Swedish Minister of Infra Structure, Åsa Torstensson).

I have a feeling they want to wrap things up tomorrow. But there is no reason to stress this through or to take desissions without proper analysis. According to the rules we have until the end of December for this process.

Our (Swedish Pirate Party and the Green Grp.) position is that the core values of  the famous amendment 138 shall be kept. (Not allowing Member States to cut people off from the Internet with less than prior ruling in a Court of Law.)

For every suggestion or compromise presented, we must ask: Will it open up for Hadopi laws (like in France) or Mendelson-measures (like the ones proposed in the UK)? If they do, we cannot accept them,

And a central point is the fight about the word "prior" - that the Council seems to refuse to accept.

The Councils lates proposal for a compromise (that is a bit dogy and that not include the word "prior") can be read on Pirate MEP Christian Engströms blog. Please do and give him feedback.

(Here in the EP interest from the media is rapidly increasing. Wednesday will be hysterical. The meetings will start at 7 p.m. and might continue into the night. I and Christian will try to keep you updated as much and as soon as possible.)

[In Swedish]