Wednesday 21 December 2011

European Parliament versus SOPA and Protect IP Act

If passed, the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill debated in the US House of Representatives and its sister, the Protect IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011) discussed in the Senate raise serious concerns regarding the integrity of the internet as well as for service providers and businesses, not only in the United States, but globally.

How has the European Union reacted?

I hope that Commission vice president Neelie Kroes, who is in charge of the Digital Agenda for Europe - @NeelieKroesEU on Twitter – responds to the question I tweeted yesterday.

We can record at least one reaction from an EU institution. Ahead of the EU-US summit in Washington DC on 28 November we saw a resolution from the European Parliament (EP).

European Parliament

Based on a joint motion for a resolution, replacing motions by the ECR, ALDE, S&D and PPE groups, on 17 November 2011 the European Parliament adopted a resolution P7_TA(2011)0510 on the EU-US Summit of 28 November 2011. The EP stressed that the imperative of safeguarding freedom and security at home should not be met at the cost of sacrificing core principles relating to civil liberties and the need to uphold common standards on human rights.

Paragraph 26 was more specific:

26. Stresses the need to protect the integrity of the global internet and freedom of communication by refraining from unilateral measures to revoke IP addresses or domain names;

Vikki Chowney on Econsultancy interprets this as a call by the EP for SOPA to be abandoned. So does Edward J. Black in the Huffington Post.

The EU affairs consultant Caroline De Cock - @linotherhino on Twitter – has tweeted on SOPA, including a reference to an article by three professors, Mark Lemley, David S. Levine and David G. Post, in the Stanford Law Review: Don't Break the Internet.

I would expect the EU to monitor and react visibly to such proposed long-arm statutes and jurisdiction. While we wait for the Commission to respond, we can search for statements from the EU and the US administration.

Ralf Grahn

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