Christian Engström, Pirat

26 september 2010

After the Gallo report

Filed under: English,informationspolitik,IP Observatory — Christian Engström @ 15:26

MEP Marielle Gallo (EPP) won the vote in plenary

It was a defeat when the European Parliament adopted the Gallo report on intellectual property rights enforcement last week. The report calls for harsher measures against file sharers, both through stricter laws and ”non-legislative measures”, which means forcing the Internet service providers to police their customers.

But even if the adoption of the report was a defeat, there are positive things to say about the vote. The report was adopted with 328 votes in favour, 245 against, and 81 abstentions. This means that almost half the parliament was against the measures proposed, or at least unsure about the wisdom of them.

This is the good news. There are a lot of Members of the European Parliament that are unhappy about just doing more of the same, and would want to look for solutions in other directions.

After the final vote, the display looked like this:

Red means no to the Gallo report, green yes, and white abstain. Click to enlarge.

The left half of the European Parliament mostly voted against the report, or abstained. These are the Left, Social Democrat, and Green groups in the parliament. The Liberal group in the middle was split, and its members voted in different directions.

The big Christian Democrat group EPP mostly voted for the report. Together with the small Conservative group ECR, this was enough to have it passed.

But even if the EPP sector of the voting display looks depressingly supportive of the Gallo report when you look at the picture, many of its members voted yes primarily because the rapporteur Ms. Gallo comes from their own group, and they did not want to embarrass her. There were intense discussions within the group, with many EPP members being highly critical of the report.

Even if the voting display does not necessarily make it obvious this time, there are a lot of members from all political groups that are getting fed up with measures that simply don’t work.

There is an intellectual and political process going on in the European Parliament, and the Gallo report was by no means the last word on the issue of file sharing and freedom on the Internet.

So what happens now?

Formally speaking, the Gallo report has no direct legislative effect. It is an ”own initiative report” by the European Parliament expresses its opinion to the Commission, in case the Commission is interested. The Commission is then free to come with proposals in line with the parliament’s opinion, or to ignore it and do something else. An own initiative report has no legal effect by itself.

But on the practical and political level, the adoption of the report of course makes it easier for the forces within the Commission that think that even more enforcement will solve all problems.

This is in particular French commissioner Michel Barnier, who is a real copyright hard-liner from the same party as French president Sarkozy. He was present in plenary at the debate, and he will be very pleased with the outcome of the vote.

Now he can point at the own initiative report by the European Parliament, and say that the parliament has specifically asked him to come up with stricter measures and harsher punishements.

But even if he can truthfully say the the EP has asked for it, it was not a united parliament that did.

There are many MEPs, including some that voted yes this time, who would prefer that we took a step back, examined the real facts and figures, and found a better way to handle copyright in the Internet age.

The political discussion will continue. Next on the agenda are the ACTA negotiations.


Previous articles on the Gallo report

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11 kommentarer

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Telecomix, Christian Scholz and fasel, Catharina. Catharina said: ♺ @telecomix: MEP Engstrom on the aftermath of the Gallo report […]

    Pingback av Tweets that mention After the Gallo report « Christian Engström, Pirate MEP -- — 26 september 2010 @ 16:58

  2. I told you:
    ”It is a fault to postpone the gallo report after the election in sweden.”
    (comment #3)

    Kommentar av Idee — 26 september 2010 @ 21:29

  3. What do the blue lights mean? Vacant chairs or something?

    Kommentar av Björn Persson — 26 september 2010 @ 23:52

  4. Hi Christian, I admire your work, but it is also depressing if people who are supposed to represent us, vote to protect one of their party members and for that sake, just turn against citizens. In the EU and in politics in general there is way too much influence of multinationals and other big business. They get invited to every single workgroup and they have the means to participate and we stand there and may use our vote once in every fourth year. This is not a democracy!

    Kommentar av Catharina — 27 september 2010 @ 1:20

  5. @Björn,

    Yes, blue lights are Members who were either not present or did not push any button.

    The two segments at the bottom of the display that are completely blue are chairs that are reserved for people from the Commission or the Council, so they are not allowed to vote.

    Kommentar av Christian Engström — 27 september 2010 @ 8:29

  6. ”The Commission is then free to come with proposals in line with the parliament’s opinion”

    Something not too different from: Support ACTA, lots of luv, The Commission.

    Kommentar av moop — 27 september 2010 @ 16:51

  7. Jag orkar inte översätta nedanstående länk, men den är helt klart läsvärd. Du känner säkert någon som kan översätta den åt dig om du inte behärskar tyska tillräckligt bra.

    Kommentar av _K_ — 27 september 2010 @ 19:30

  8. The Gallo report on non-commercial file-sharing, as I’ve read it, is much like presenting Aristotle’s journals to the catholic church on Galileo. Very much dogma and non of the cited dogma consistent with what peer-reviewed reports have to offer.

    The Gallo report is nothing more than a propaganda stunt. Christian, what on earth are people in brussels listening to to believe incoherent crap such as this?

    Kommentar av Scary Devil Monastery — 1 oktober 2010 @ 3:22

  9. Someone from the Czech Pirate Party sent me a mail:

    Hello pirates, keep up the good work!

    I have an interesting piece of information for you. The Czech MEPs from the ECR group (members of ODS in the Czech Republic) claim that they wanted to vote against the Gallo report. Edvard Kozusnik even explains why he voted no. (in Czech)

    They say that their yes for Gallo was a clerical error.

    ODS is the biggest and relatively moderate right wing party in the Czech Republic. They definitely do not want to hand over the internet generation to Social democrats, so I am pretty sure they are willing to vote like pirates on many issues. It is very likely that they will vote against ACTA.

    Kommentar av Christian Engström — 3 oktober 2010 @ 21:49

  10. Well, Christian, here’s one of the swedish ship of the line saying ”Good Work”.

    And thanks. 🙂

    Kommentar av Scary Devil Monastery — 6 oktober 2010 @ 0:29

  11. The Gallo Report is important in stopping online child pornography. As we know, everyone is free to express their own opinion, even the stupid things that I have read in this forum.That is true, but it is equally true that when a person commits not just an act of stupidity but a crime, whoever is responsible for safeguarding the rights of our children can investigate. Today, under current legislation, that is not possible. For this reason I support the line taken by the MEP Tiziano Motti.

    Kommentar av Ben — 4 oktober 2011 @ 10:44

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