Christian Engström, Pirat

21 februari 2010

On the Pirate agenda in Brussels

Filed under: English,informationspolitik — Christian Engström @ 20:50

The EU Commission sets the agenda in Brussels

I have created a couple of categories here on this blog for various dossiers that are of interest from a pirate political perspective, and that are active in Brussels right now. As new issues come up, I plan to add those as new categories as well. This will hopefully make it easier to follow each dossier over time.

I intend to write most articles in these categories in English, so just scroll down if the odd article is in Swedish, and you don’t read that language.

The agenda in Brussels is not something that the Pirate Party can set by itself. Neither can the European Parliament as a whole, for that matter. The parliament can make ”own initiative reports” where it asks the Commission to come back with a proposal on a certain issue, but it is up to the Commission to decide if it does or not. Only the Commission has the right of initiative, not the European Parliament.

This means that we pretty much have to take the battles that happen to appear on the agenda, in the order they present themselves. It is the Commission that sets the agenda, and our best chance of influencing decisions is by being flexible and reactive, and allowing the legislative procedure to provide the structure for what we do.

Right now, the following are among the dossiers that are active, and where we can expect things to happen in the near future:

  • ACTA
    The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement that may threaten freedom on the Internet, in the name of intellectual property rights enforcement. Currently being negotiated in secret by the EU Commission with the US and other countries. Lobbyists from the big film and record companies have been directly informed about the negotiations, but neither the EU Parliament nor ordinary citizens are allowed to see the documents. This will be a test case for the status of the parliament under the Lisbon Treaty, so it has great implications for the power balance between the elected parliament and the unelected Commission.
  • IP Observatory
    The Commission wants to set up an ”IP Observatory” together with ”stakeholders” (which means the lobbyists from film and record companies and collecting societies). In fact, the Commission has already done so, and is now asking the parliament to give rubber stamp approval to its actions. This week is the deadline for submitting amendments to a report by the parliament where it will give its opinion. The draft opinion presented by the rapporteur from the Christian Democrat group EPP was very supportive of the Commission, but this may not be the final word. This can become a quite interesting dossier in the weeks to come.
  • Orphan Works
    A large portion of the cultural works created during the 20th century, perhaps most of them, are still in copyright, but the rights holders are difficult or impossible to find. This means that copyright risks creating a ”black hole”, by preventing us from preserving our cultural heritage in the digital age. The Commission wants to do something about these orphan works, and this is a good thing. For once, we are discussing a positive idea that we can support, and that can lead to exciting new possibilities if we can solve it. The legislative affairs committee JURI has a Working Group on Copyright that is contemplating the issue.
  • Bill of Rights
    According to the Europan Convention on Human Rights, we citizens have certain fundamental rights that the government has a duty to uphold at all times. These rights apply on the Internet just like everywhere else. They include the right to receive and impart information without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers, the right to respect for his private life and his correspondence, and the right to a fair trial before he is punished in any way. Unfortunately, some governments of some Member States seem to have forgotten that these rights apply in the digital world as well. I think it would be a good idea for the parliament to take an initiative to remind them, and to spell out an Internet Bill of Rights.
  • Internet of Things
    More and more things are getting electronic labels that makes them traceable, and more and more things will be connected to directly to the Internet in the future. This dossier is more of a discussion of this trend than hard legislative proposals. The lead committee is the industry committe ITRE, and I am the rapporteur for an opinion that the internal market committee IMCO is to give to ITRE. Apart from the obvious privacy issues when the things can be connected to a person by data mining or by other means, I don’t see very much that is controversial or interesting in this report. Please tell me if you disagree, and have found some aspect that is worth considering more in depth.

These are just some of the issues that are on the table in Brussels, but it is a start.

Next week, it will be the amendments to the report on the IP Observatory that will be at the top of the agenda. That will be interesting.


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7 kommentarer

  1. Speaking of ACTA… It looks like the reply you got from the Commission wasn’t 100% correct.

    Kommentar av Jens Bäckman — 22 februari 2010 @ 7:55

  2. Good stuff. But seeing what these people are trying to do really turns the stomach. Thank goodness you are where you are, doing what you do. Thank you.

    Kommentar av Rick — 22 februari 2010 @ 20:34

  3. Direktlänk till dokumentet som Jens Bäckmans länk behandlar:

    Klicka för att komma åt 10-02-22_ACTA_EN.pdf

    Kommentar av David — 23 februari 2010 @ 18:52

  4. In light of ACTA, there are a basic issue which could benefit from your attention. It would be great if the parliament could adopt some kind of resolution to propose or state an opinion that it should be EU policy always to conduct multilateral treaty negotiations in the open.

    At least a framework should be established for international treaty negotiations which is founded on public access. It is to hard to fight for openness in every single negotiation. We need some guidelines established.

    Sensitive data could perhaps be kept secret, but it should be possible for the other parties to regard such information as inadmissible. Treaty text proposals should never be secret. Reports from EU negotiators, information given from the Commission to the Parliament and the Council should not be secret.

    Kommentar av Johan Tjäder — 24 februari 2010 @ 9:47

  5. Manuell trackback:

    Informationspolitiken omfamnar skolan

    Kommentar av Thomas Tvivlaren — 24 februari 2010 @ 23:25

  6. Christian:
    Jag blev lite nyfiken. Vad skulle ske om en parlamentariker offentliggjorde sekretessbelagda dokument t.ex. om ACTA på internet? Har någon instans i EU rätt att ”avsätta” parlamentariker? Eller krävs någon motsvarighet till misstroendevotum och att hela parlamentet väljs om? Nu vill jag inte på något sätt uppmuntra dig att göra det, för jag tror det vore dumt. Mest av nyfikenhet i största allmänhet.

    Kommentar av gastlind — 24 februari 2010 @ 23:34

  7. his information about ACTA useful input for my brain.

    Kommentar av Mo_oNlite — 26 februari 2010 @ 17:01

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