Euro Commissioner Kroes Speaks Against SOPA

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European vice president Neelie Kroes says SOPA was “bad legislation”, while Euro MPs call US Congress to account

European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes, has joined a rising European tide against US proposals to combat copyright.

Kroes tweeted her approval that the “tide is turning” over the controversial proposed Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA), which now appears to have been beaten, although other legislation will replace it. Meanwhile, a group of European MPs has sent a formal letter of complaint to the US Congress.

No speed-bumps required

Kroes’ anti-SOPA tweet was terse but unambiguous: “Glad tide is turning on #SOPA: don’t need bad legislation when should be safeguarding benefits of open net.”

Tacitly acknowleding the problem of piracy, but implying SOPA was disprorportionate, Kroes – who is also a vice-president of the European Union – followed with: “Speeding is illegal too: but you don’t put speed bumps on the motorway”.

Meanwhile, a group of European MPs, led by Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake have sent a letter to the US Congress, which complains that SOPA would have broken US promises to respect the open Internet.

“SOPA and PROTECT IP [or PIPA] will create tensions across the Atlantic in a time where we need to work more closely together,” says the letter, which is signed by fifteen Euro-MPS, along with representatives of civil and business organisations. “We ask you to vote against SOPA and PROTECT IP and to work with us on effective laws, which enable a fair remuneration of artists and creators online, without violating fundamental rights or fragmenting the free and open internet as we know it.”

The letter points out that a EU-US summit in November 2011, specifically ruled out measures like SOPA. A joint statement  from that summit said “We share a commitment to a single, global Internet, and will resist unilateral efforts to weaken the security, reliability, or independence of its operations — recognising that respect for fundamental freedoms online, and joint efforts to strengthen security, are mutually reinforcing.”

Unilateral moves to revoke IP addresses and domain names would go against that declaration, the letter states. If such a law is enacted, it says: “Considering the world wide character of the internet, European companies will be forced to adhere to US standards to prevent DNS blocking.”

The MPs also complain that monitoring and filtering an individual’s communications is prohibited in the EU, and “is a breach of fundamental rights such as privacy, freedom of communication and freedom of information and should not be applied to halt infringements of IPR”.

 

 

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