Letter to MEPs Regarding Bono Fjellner/Rocard amendment

Tuesday April 8, 2008

Dear Member of the European Parliament,

On behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), I write to
solicit your support for the amendment to the Bono Report
regarding standards and limitations on solutions for Internet
piracy. Thanks to the initiative of MEP Fjellner and MEP Rocard,
a balanced set of considerations will be included in the
conclusions reported by the European Parliament. Your support
for this amendment will ensure that such radical proposals
undermining the nature of the Internet are held to the standards
of civil rights and proportionality in punishment.

We are encouraged by the opening of public debate over the harsh
measure of "graduated response" because we believe it threatens
the fundamental architecture of the Internet. It undermines the
public interest in (1) privacy; (2) due process; and (3) judicial
copyright. "Graduated response" will also fail to deter Internet
piracy. The repeat infringers to whom this strategy is targeted
will hide their files with increasingly advanced encryption
methods, making them harder for law enforcement to detect.

In order to implement this strategy, the proposal would require
service providers to sift through and examine all Internet users'
every activity to uncover bits that may infringe copyright. As
encryption techniques improve, the surveillance will become more
vigilant and slow down everyone's traffic in order to actually
work. Files identified as infringing may in fact be legitimate
or justified by the exceptions and limitations of copyright, yet
"graduated response" affords no due process to appeal mistaken
claims. The adjudication of copyright will move away from courts
and policymakers to the dealmaking of self-interested industry
negotiators desperate to preserve old business models.

The development of European cultural industries on the Internet
is at a formative stage. The potential for creativity and
innovation is just beginning to be realized in the new
democratic medium and new business models promising great growth
are emerging. New forms of cultural expression and political
participation are made possible by the new technologies of the
digitally networked environment and the activities of everyday
life increasingly take place online. The Internet is the source
of critical information for citizens and the means for using
essential services available. Termination of access to the
Internet in today's digitally networked environment as
punishment is like banishment from a part of society. The
governance of the Internet must not be taken away from judges
and handed to corporate executives. Punishments must not conflict
with civil and human rights and must be proportional to alleged
activity. "Graduated response" is worse than a wrong solution
because it will change the fundamental nature of the Internet.

We thank you for your support of this amendment on behalf of
Internet users that have been left out of the debate. If you
have any further questions, please feel free to contact me or
Eddan Katz, International Affairs Director at EFF.

Best regards,

--
    Erik Josefsson                              email: erik@eff.org
    European Affairs Coordinator            mobile: +32 484 082 063
    Electronic Frontier Foundation              fax: +32 24 166 018
    BP 1344, 1000 Bruxelles 1, Belgium           http://www.eff.org

Eddan Katz                                        eddan@eff.org
    International Affairs Director            Tel: +1(415) 728-5800
    Electronic Frontier Foundation            Fax: +1(203) 752-0704
    52 Lyon St. New Haven, CT 06511 USA         http://www.eff.org/

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