As we write this, the European Parliament is discussing a report on copyright enforcement, the so-called Gallo-report. Although we expected the liberal group in the European Parliament (the ALDE-group) to defend our online freedoms, as they did in the past, events now are taking a shocking turn for the worse. Toine Manders of the Dutch liberals – the VVD – introduced a repressive alternative resolution, representing the position of the entire ALDE-group. Other ALDE-members should, however, distance themselves from Manders’ resolution and embrace a neutral resolution, or alternatively reject all versions of the resolution.
In the initial draft of the Gallo report, the parliament would call for stricter enforcement, criminalizing millions of internet users while not leading to a sustainable solution of the filesharing-conflict. This was received with fierce criticism and a neutral text was proposed by members of the socialist group (S&D) and the Greens. The ALDE-group just tabled an alternative resolution, presented as a compromise, which is however almost as repressive as the initial Gallo-report.
This resolution was drafted under the lead of its “shadow rapporteur”, Toine Manders, who unfortunately takes a completely one-sided view of the copyright-conflict, only pushing for more repression and restricting fundamental freedoms. One of the effects of Manders’ resolution would be to further push internet providers to act as private police for enforcement against users, cutting of users’ internet connection and inspecting their internet traffic.
The report will be voted on Wednesday, September 22nd in the European Parliament. Members of the ALDE-group, such as Marietje Schaake and Sophie in ‘t Veld of the Dutch liberal party D66, have in the past defended our online freedoms vigorously and in all likelihood did so during the negotiations over the ALDE-position as well. But this is a very disappointing result. All ALDE-members should distance themselves from Manders’ repressive resolution. The parliament should embrace the neutral resolution or reject all versions of the resolution.