Christian Engström, Pirat

3 november 2009

Telecom test balloon 1.0

Filed under: English,informationspolitik,Telecoms Package — Christian Engström @ 14:28
test-balloon-1

Test balloon

I am not a lawyer, but I of course want to play as constructive a role as possible in the ongoing haggling over the text of the Telecom Package. So here is an idea more or less from the top of my head, that I submit for comments.

Suppose that we take the text proposed by the Council, and add the words shown in bold here:

3a. Measures taken by Member States regarding end-users’ access to or use of services and applications through electronic communications networks shall respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and general principles of Community law, such as the right to a prior ruling by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.

Any of the above measures liable to restrict those fundamental rights or freedoms may therefore only be imposed if they are appropriate, proportionate and necessary within a democratic society, and shall be subject to adequate procedural safeguards in conformity with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and with general principles of Community law, including effective judicial protection and due process. Accordingly, these measures may only be taken with due respect for the principle of presumption of innocence and shall respect the requirements of a fair and impartial procedure including the right to be heard of the person or persons concerned and the right to an effective and timely judicial review.

This shall not affect the competence of a Member State, in conformity with its own constitutional order and with fundamental rights, to establish, inter alia, a requirement of a judicial decision authorising the measures to be taken.

The question I have is:

Would this text pass the Hadopi test? In other words, would it make it clear to Member States (such as, inter alia, the UK and France), that it is not acceptable to introduce legislation to shut people off from the internet without even giving them a proper trial by a proper court before they are punished?

If the answer to this question would be yes, it would appear to me that neither the Council nor anybody else can make the argument that the text thus amended would go outside the legal scope of the directive.

I cannot see how anybody could argue against the fact that the principle of trial before punishment is one of the general principles of Community Law, so adding this clarification to what the Council itself has proposed could not possibly be a legal problem. If the Council’s text is within the legal limits, so should this text be.

But again, I am not a lawyer, and amending legal texts like this is a really tricky business. I look forward to any comments.

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27 kommentarer

  1. A quick comment. You have ”inter alia” repeated in the last paragraph.

    Kommentar av pettter — 3 november 2009 @ 14:36

  2. Kämpa på Christian bland alla ordvrängare och ” i kaoset”?, där nere i Bryssel. Du har mitt fulla stöd och förtroende.

    Kommentar av AquaVera,Björkö — 3 november 2009 @ 14:38

  3. Det sista stycket är överflödigt:

    ”This shall not affect the competence of a Member State, in conformity with its own constitutional order and with fundamental rights, inter alia, to establish, inter alia, a requirement of a judicial decision authorising the measures to be taken.”

    Det säger ju att medlemsstaterna *får* inrätta ett domstolsförfarande, vilket blir lite motsägande mot att de *måste* tidigare.

    Kommentar av Mikael Nilsson — 3 november 2009 @ 14:43

  4. Jag tror det är dags att fundera ut vilket brandtal (”we shall fight them…”) du ska hålla inför delegationen. Vad konsekvenserna blir av att inte inkludera ”prior jucidial”, och att om så ej sker är det varje modernt tänkande parlamentsledamöts plikt att stoppa Telekompaketet. Frågan får i så fall behandlas på nytt, ev i den nya ordning som Lissabonfördraget kommer att ge. Ministerrådets ledamöter måste säkert ställas inför ultimatum för att börja överväga att ta in 138:an med tanke på vad som skett hittills, dvs. insikten om en högst reell risk att parlamentet sänker Telekompaketet. Gör klart att du kommer att försöka få med dig parlamentet för att stoppa Telekompaketet om inte ”prior jucidial” ingår. Bry dig inte om implementationstekniska invändningar, det går ALLTID att komma runt om viljan finns. Intala dig att du har rätt och att du har majoriten av EU:s invånare bakom dig och låt dig inte rubbas i den tron OAVSETT vad som sägs (eller om de tycker du är en dryg jävel).

    Kommentar av Gadde — 3 november 2009 @ 14:56

  5. @pettter,

    Tack, fixat.

    Kommentar av Christian Engström — 3 november 2009 @ 15:15

  6. Tribunal != domstol?

    Kommentar av Carl — 3 november 2009 @ 15:33

  7. HADOPI = independent and impartial tribunal established by law

    Så vad hindrar dem från att ta en prior ruling 100ms innan de stänger av en användare?

    /F

    Kommentar av ƒr — 3 november 2009 @ 15:41

  8. ”such as the right to a prior ruling by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.”

    As far as I know, HADOPI has a criminal procedure where anyone can contest in front of the judge.

    The only problem is that this kind of tribunal will be effective if the proofs are not discutable, which will be the case if accused infringers really want to try to defend themselves.

    Kommentar av orbital — 3 november 2009 @ 16:00

  9. Följande kan kanske fungera:

    adequate procedural safeguards ->
    adequate judicial and procedural safeguards

    samt

    including effective judicial protection and due process ->
    including effective prior judicial protection and prior due process

    ”prior due process” borde vara de magiska orden.

    Kommentar av Anders Lindbäck — 3 november 2009 @ 16:13

  10. Som civilingenjör ser jag lagtext ungefär som en krav specifikation, men när man skriver en kravspec läggs stor vikt vid att det man skriver ska lämna så få luckor som möjligt öppna för tolkning. Inom lagstiftningen i politiken verkar men göra precis tvärt om, man hittar på en text som är så krånglig och svårtolkad som möjligt för att öppna för att man i efterhand ska kunna tolka den efter eget behag. Eller så pass urvattnat att det egentligen inte betyder något alls längre. Sen står båda parter i kompromissen och ser nöjda ut för att de fått igenom det de ville när de i själva verket bara genererat ännu lite mer meningslös lagstiftning. Det är inte underligt att det finns ett stor förakt för EU och de lagar de stiftar.

    Kommentar av Peter — 3 november 2009 @ 16:15

  11. Jag undrar jag, de har tidigare tjatat om att man måste få stänga av användare som inte betalar Interneträkningen. Kan man inte lägga till ett undantag för att man får stänga av Internet för den som inte betalar räkningarna om man inte skickat ut betalningspåminnelser minst två gånger med två veckors mellanrum?

    Kanske med undantag för sådant som räknas som grov brottslighet. Såsom spridning av barnporr och mobbning på nätet. Men som inte ger möjlighet att stänga av för fildelning och andra småförselser. Det är väl först om vi ser att de skulle tacka nej till även en sådan kompromiss som man säkert kan säga att de går i lobbyns ledband?

    Kommentar av David — 3 november 2009 @ 16:17

  12. Carl skrev:

    Tribunal != domstol?

    Jo, det är samma sak i det här sammanhanget.

    Jämför formuleringarna i artikel 6.1 i den engelska och den svenska versionen av Europeiska konventionen om mänskliga rättigheter hos EHCR.

    Engelska:

    …a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.

    Svenska:

    … en rättvis och offentlig rättegång inom skälig tid och inför en oavhängig och opartisk domstol som upprättats enligt lag.

    Kommentar av Christian Engström — 3 november 2009 @ 16:25

  13. 1/ The last paragraph with its ”inter alia” allows for pretty much any exception for the above principle. => HADOPI goes through

    2/ ”Any of the above measures” restricts it to only ”measures taken by member states”. So if an HADOPI is made only by contracts between entertainment industries and ISP, it’s not taken by member states, it goes through.

    The problem is not about the legality or the wording, it’s mainly that the Council *does* want to allow administrative bodies and corporations to restrict Internet access, therefore our freedoms. And the EP so far had shown its will to agree, for the sake of quickly wrapping up the Telecoms Package.

    Nothing that would let corporations or administrative bodies restrict access to the Net is acceptable. Legal wording is a mere technicality, subsequent to those clear political principles.

    Kommentar av jz - La Quadrature du Net — 3 november 2009 @ 16:52

  14. The short critique of your proposal is that ”such as” is wrong according to the EP legal service. Your proposal is not within the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the general principles of Community law.

    The long answer:

    ”Tribunal” may be a problem. The EP legal service says:
    ”6. … According to case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, the right to a fair trial does not necessarily require that the decision-making body is a court of law of the classic king, i.e. a body integrated in the judicial structure of the State. Similarly, the right to an effective remedy obviously refers to a subsequent review of a decision already taken, in order to obtain redress.”
    http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/EP_legal_service_138_analysis
    I doubt the Telecompacket may overrule case-law of the European Court of Human Rights? Moreover, the last sentence says that the EU-legal system does not prevent an administrative body of a member state (e.g. Hadopi) from making a decision, though the ‘victim’ must afterwards be able to bring the decision to court (cf. traffictickets).

    The EP legal service also conclude that:
    ”1) There are serious grounds for considering that, in so far as it requires a ”prior ruling by the judicial authorities”, Amendment 138 goes beyond the Community competence as defined by Article 95 EC.”
    This means that art. 95 does not enable a directive to change the memberstates’ judicial system. Thus, it cannot enforce upon the memberstates a judicial system that is more restrictive than European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and general principles of Community law. Therefore, your ”such as” does apply.

    The guys on Laquadrature.net have cast doubt over the EP legal service’s opinion because
    a deprivation of one’s liberty requires prior judgement before punishment. They also points to that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) … accepts that harmonizing measures pursuant to article 95 CE can have an impact on other Treaty provisions that do not pertain to the Community’s filed of competence.
    http://www.laquadrature.net/en/improving-amendment-138-while-preserving-its-core-principles

    The problem is that Laquadrature.net may very well be absolutely right. However, few MEPs dare trust this. To cast real doubt upon the EP’s legal service, we must have an EU-legal expert to support Laquadrature’s point of view. Therefore, the best would be to have the decision postponed so that these matters could be cleared by some legal expert.

    The last paragraph of the commission’s proposal seem to be a problem, since it invalidates the former paragraphs incl. your proposal:

    ”This shall not affect the competence of a Member State, in conformity with its own constitutional order and with fundamental rights, to establish, inter alia, a requirement of a judicial decision authorising the measures to be taken.”

    The problem seems to be ”with fundamental rights”. Does this mean ECHR? And why is the ”general principles of Community law” now ignored? Assuming the paragraph has meaning, it must imply that the Member States must follow ECHR, but not Community law, that is, the two first paragraphs!!!

    Kommentar av Flemming Bjerke — 3 november 2009 @ 17:20

  15. Borde man inte byta ut ”such as” mot ”including”?

    Kommentar av Per Hamnerius — 3 november 2009 @ 18:37

  16. Per; I agree that ”such as” is somewhat dubious. ”Including” or ”including and not limited to” would be better

    Kommentar av Peter — 3 november 2009 @ 19:01

  17. I am not a lawyer. But here are some thoughts on the text:

    * You inserted ”prior ruling” in the first paragraph. But prior to what? There is no mentioning of ”restricting” in that paragraph, so logically it reads as if a prior ruling is needed to get access to electronic communications networks, which obviously is not what you intended.

    * On a higher level: The first paragraph talks about our fundamental rights and freedoms. The second paragraph talks about how and when it is ok to restrict those rights. Clarifying the rights in the first paragraph doesn’t really help, as long as the second paragraph allows them to be restricted. To pass the Hadopi test you simply cannot leave ”may only be taken with … the right to an effective and timely judicial review.” since that effectively means that it is indeed ok to restrict our fundamental freedoms as listed in paragraph one, IF there is a possibility for a timley judical review afterwards.

    Hence, I think the smallest change you can do to pass the Hadopi test is to replace ”an effective and timely judicial review” in paragraph two, with your clarification ”the right to a prior ruling by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law”.

    Kommentar av Tino — 3 november 2009 @ 19:40

  18. There is no right to prior ruling, that is what you are trying to establish here. Not even in criminal law or in the case of the European Convention there is talk about prior rulings. On the contrary, the states are reserved the right according to Article 5 to prevent offenses being committed. Clearly, preventing piracy is such a case given existing legislation.

    It should also be noted that there are risks by introducing legislation in an area where no legislation exists. Can you positively rule out that this legislation cannot ever be construed as a requirement to block end users in Sweden? I mean, we have seen IFPI make attempts to block The Pirate Bay website in Sweden, with the argument that it is legal in Denmark. I don’t want such a leak.

    Kristian Viidas from the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy, and Communications today stated the two main reasons for the Swedish governnment to oppose amendment 138, at the ”Internetdagarna” (Internet-days) conference in Stockholm.

    1. It was as an open writing which would have prevented operators to shut down a non-paying user
    2. It is not within the authority of the EU to legislate the justice systems of the member states

    Kommentar av Johan Tjäder — 3 november 2009 @ 21:24

  19. I also think that ”such as” is inappropriate; it sounds almost like an example out of several options. In addition to Peter’s suggestion of ”including” I would suggest ”in particular”, to make clear that this is the article (Article 6) of the ECHR that you are referring to.

    Also, Tino is right that ”prior ruling” in the text you insert lacks context. Article 6 specifically states criminal charges against a person as its context. If there is no criminal charge, Article 6 does not apply, and there is no point in citing it as a defense against administrative actions taken for any other reason than an accusation of a crime (say, for crossing an age limit or changing citizenship). Yes, we believe you should not lose your Internet access merely for turning 95 or giving up your French/British/Swedish citizenship, but no such administrative action is forbidden by Article 6.

    So, in order to put your phrasing in context, you need to refer to ”criminal charges” yourself, but that will take you even further away from what the telecom directive is supposed to regulate, and as long as the French government doesn’t admit that HADOPI really is a matter of criminal law (I don’t know how they view it), the ECHR and your text will be fairly useless against HADOPI.

    I would object to David’s proposal of explicitely mentioning unpaid bills on the grounds that this is just one out of a multitude of situations where a private entity (in this case an ISP or similar) may terminate a subscription for whatever reason that is compatible with their terms of service. When bills are to be paid, when reminders are to be expected and so on are all matters of contractual law, not criminal law, and private entities (including natural persons) may agree to just about anything without the state getting involved and dictating the terms for the parties. These two different kinds of law should preferrably not be mixed in the same directive, not to mention the same article, and while I believe the telecom package should deal with contractual law alone, both the Parliament and the Council have confused the matter by also in effect talking about criminal law. Therefore I’d now rather see the entire telecom package scrapped than let it be adopted with these misconstructed but also absolutely necessary last-minute patches.

    Flemming Bjerke made a comparison with traffic tickets, describing it as seeking redress after the penalty has already been decided. This is not a correct description in Sweden (I don’t know about other jurisdictions). A traffic ticket, issued by a police officer to the driver of a vehicle, is a kind of fast-track procedure (no court involved) to be used when the driver admits violating the traffic regulations and the only penalty is a monetary fine. However, should the driver contest the accusation, he can still request to have the case heard before a court of law, and no fine will be metered out until the court has made a decision. If the penalty may involve prison, the fast-track procedure is of course not an option. Being stopped by a police officer and accused of speeding is in itself not a penalty; having to pay a fine or spend time in jail is.

    Kommentar av Anders Andersson — 3 november 2009 @ 22:14

  20. Go Christian!

    Kommentar av Manen — 4 november 2009 @ 0:14

  21. No, you’re not a lawyer and IANAL and most of us aren’t. But maybe we’re not cynical enough either. Big Money will use anything they can to stifle this situation. And if it’s clear what you’re after then they’ll try to crush you. And PS. They play dirty. Be careful and take care.

    Kommentar av Rick — 4 november 2009 @ 1:19

  22. I believe adding ”such as the right to a prior ruling by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.” is rather superfluous. Community law, i.e. EU law, incorporates that, and the boundaries of limitation is explained in the second paragraph.

    The reason for them to formulate their sentences are that what ever they write it has to conform to being on the level of community law, i.e. EU law. Any stuff that presumes to dictate how a member country should go about their business has to be able to conform with local, country specific, laws.

    Remember that piracy includes all forms of Intellectual property infringement to the commission, not just copyright infringement by non-commercial illegal file sharing.

    If people are risking getting their internet connection terminated for illegal file sharing, then they need a prior court ruling. In essence if this can be included in the telecom package it has to include a paragraph concerning illegal file sharing only, a paragraph formulated to function with community law, since it will become community law, which means it can’t presume to dictate local laws any which way. (As I understand it this is the only way to assure that disconnecting someone for supposedly illegal file sharing, commercial or not, will go through an actual court, civil or criminal, prior to ruling. Of course this would be moot if it could be established that non commercial illegal file sharing was a criminal offense only, or preferably no offense at all.)

    Kommentar av ST — 4 november 2009 @ 2:43

  23. Thank you Anders Andersson for the fine summary of the legal situation. I see you are right about traffic tickets – it is the same in DK. My point was actually that Hadopi-laws always may use a similar mechanism as traffic tickets: When you get the third letter, you’ll be cut off the net or be fined, whatever. You may protest and go to court. But, you have better not (it is expensive), because there will be a well established practice for punishing in that way you are to be punished. I guess it is what they will do in UK. From that point of view, even the original 138 would not efficiently avoid being cut off – or fined.

    However, there may be problems with proving guilt. Particularly, when anonymous file-sharing become the standard. Then, they could punish people for publishing lists over downloadable content (basically the piratebay verdict). Nor will any 138 protect against this.

    Kommentar av Flemming Bjerke — 4 november 2009 @ 6:14

  24. Flemming, I think you’re trying to solve the wrong problem. The 138 is not intended to protect filesharers against unreasonably harsh sentences, it’s intended to protect totally innocent people from being jumped at. Something that many people already have experienced in a mild form in real life by some ISP’s abuse groups that just cut of connections after three complaints without investigating if the complaints are valid. This is far from a theoretical threat that only applies to file sharers. If you break the current law, how unreasonable it may seem, the 138 will not, should not and is not designed to protect you against any jucidial problems or punishments.

    Kommentar av Gadde — 4 november 2009 @ 8:30

  25. Could this be the reason why they the council are so hard to get to agree to including the word ”prior”:
    http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4510/125/
    Apparently the ACTA negotiations relating to the internet includes possible 3-strikes measures.

    Kommentar av P — 4 november 2009 @ 9:07

  26. Jag såg en sak som kan förklara varför ministerrådet är så stenhårt emot detta.

    http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4510/125/

    om läckorna Geist hänvisar till stämmer så innebär ACTA att alla länder ska införa en Hadopi stil, ”three strikes and your out” och inskränkningar av budbärarimuniteten. Om det stämmer så skulle telecompaketet i er version blocka hela EU från ACTA och kräva en ny förhandling.

    så jag misstänker att det är mer på spel än vi tror.
    /C

    Kommentar av christoffer — 4 november 2009 @ 10:03

  27. I came here wanting to write my thoughts but I think most of them have already been worded by other commentators.

    But as some people here have written, if a law is constructed in such a way that it can be taken to support several views (due to it’s unclear and general wording) it is nothing short of an unneccessary law.

    Words as ”such as” can be taken as a synonym to words as ”for example”. So if you cannot stop someone from using the internet without something ”such as the right to a prior ruling” some people will most definitely take this as ”for example the right to a prior ruling”. This sentence doesn’t demand a prior ruling but more or less says that it would be nice to have one. Either it should state that there has to be a prior ruling or you can throw the complete text into the rubbish bin.

    Also, let me give my thanks for your work Christian. Though I am disillusioned (as I think you will be in a while too) as to what you can do with the EU. I’ll focus on lobbying for a delay of the Lisbon treaty, getting a Tory government in the UK and having the UK leave the whole bloody thing.

    Kommentar av Sebastian — 4 november 2009 @ 10:41


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