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MEP rejection of anti-piracy measures criticized by FAST

The Federation Against Software Theft : 14 April, 2008  (Technical Article)
Proposal to ban file sharing software pirates from the internet has been rejected in the European Parliament as being in conflict with civil liberties.
The Federation Against Software Theft has met the news that MEPs in Strasbourg have rejected calls to throw suspected file-sharers off the Internet with dismay.

In a narrow vote last week MEPs backed an amendment to a report on the creative industries written for the European Parliament, which said a ban on Internet access conflicted with 'civil liberties and human rights.'

John Lovelock, Chief Executive of The Federation, stated: "We are disappointed that MEPs seem not to be taking the future of our economy seriously as the UK Government is,"

"There is always a balance of rights, but currently some consumers and businesses are doing their best to kill off some of our key creative industries which employ many people," he added.

The amendment was added to the so-called Bono Report on the Cultural Industries. This was written by French MEP Guy Bono to advise the forthcoming European Parliament debate on encouraging growth in Europe's creative industries.

The amendment called on the EU and its member states to "avoid adopting measures conflicting with civil liberties and human rights and with the principles of proportionality, effectiveness and dissuasiveness, such as the interruption of Internet access."

"While this vote has no legal force and still leaves national governments a free hand in policy making, The Federation believes that this vote fails to move the debate forward on IP protection and is at odds with the current thinking in national governments," added John Lovelock.

"Civil liberties and human rights including the principles of proportionality should not be dressed up as a rogues charter," he concluded.

In 2007 France announced its intention to implement a 'three-strikes' policy toward file-sharers, plans now being discussed here in the UK.
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