News & announcements
The Internet has changed our society, enhanced our freedoms and our economy. One of the main reasons for this is the openness of the Internet – anyone has the potential to communicate with anyone, without permission and without discrimination. This is the essence of the neutral, open Internet. This is net neutrality.
This openness is now under threat, as telecoms operators seek to restrict Internet access and thereby boost their short-term profits – replacing neutrality with restrictions, barriers and complexity.
We have waited for years for concrete proposals to enshrine the net neutrality principle in European Union law. Since 2010, there has also been an increasing number of calls from the European Parliament to guarantee net neutrality. Finally, in September 2013, the European Commission has proposed a draft Regulation which aims at protecting the open internet in Europe. Vice President Neelie Kroes repeatedly stated that this proposal would include the "right to net neutrality".
Unfortunately, the draft Regulation (pdf) proposed by Commissioner Kroes poses a serious threat to the internet as we know it. We have analysed the three most important loopholes, which we have listed below.
The good news is that it only takes a few modifications to turn the Commission's proposal into a meaningful means of protecting net neutrality, thereby ensuring that the Internet remains a barrier-free single market and a unique platform for social and cultural activity and democratic discourse.
European Digital Rights (EDRi) is a not-for-profit association of 35 digital civil rights organisations from 21 European countries. We are the only EU-wide NGO specialising in the protection of digital rights. Our objectives are to promote, protect and uphold civil rights in the field of information and communication technology, such as the rights to privacy, freedom of expression, communication and access to information as well as the promotion of civil society.
EDRi's Brussels office is planning to grow further to promote, protect and uphold digital civil rights even better.
Today, the Licenses for Europe experiment comes to an end. This initiative, launched almost a year ago was ostensibly an attempt to 'explore the potential and limits of innovative licensing and technological solutions in making EU copyright law and practice fit for the digital age'.
At the end of this process we are compelled to conclude that 10 months of meetings have largely failed to identify any solutions which can be backed by all, or even the majority of, stakeholders involved. It is evident that there is very little consensus among stakeholders about the appropriate approach to making EU copyright law and practice fit for the digital age.
French Socialist MEP Françoise Castex published her draft report on private copying levies on 9 October. The biggest question that the document raises is... are you serious, Ms Castex?
The policy issue being addressed is that “creators” are meant to be “compensated” for private copies that are made of legally acquired content, such as music or printed material. In some EU countries, there are no levies, in some EU countries there are low levels of levies.