Gallo report adopted by MEPs

Digital rights campaigners have lost the battle against the Gallo Report, which recommends stricter controls on copyright infringement after the European Parliament voted in favour of it.

The vote on the so-called Gallo proposals does not mean the report – which advocates stricter intellectual property enforcement and pan-European copyright licences – will pass into law, but it does give ammunition to anti-piracy advocates in Brussels. The report was approved by a vote of 328 to 245.

People have feared this report, similar to ACTA, raises rather controversial movements to how to tackle copyright infringement. Although it doesn’t mention the three strikes rule that would see internet users cut off for repeated copyright infringement, some parts hint that this could come into force at a later date.  

Authored by French rapporteur Marielle Gallo, it’s an ‘own-initiative’ report, which means it is not legally binding, but serves rather as a recommendation to the European Commission.

Much of it is devoted to having a go at the Commission for not having a sufficiently strong framework in place for defending intellectual property rights (IPR). It also suggests that the EU needs to introduce criminal sanctions for copyright infringement, in addition to the civil sanctions that are already available to rights holders.

“The European Parliament… does not share the Commission’s certitude that the current civil enforcement framework in the EU is effective and harmonised to the extent necessary for the proper functioning of the internal market,” the report says.

Our own John Daly has claimed that the report is the essence of a French desire to steer European policy in direction of what it sees as a totally sensible method to protect France.

Rights groups have also decided to have their say. Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson of the citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net, wrote in his blog: “The Gallo report is an illustration of the will of the entertainment industry to try to impose private copyright police and justice of the Net6.

“Repressive schemes such as the “three strikes” policies and other Internet access restrictions –typified by the French HADOPI or the UK Digital Economy laws– negate fundamental rights, such as the right to a fair trial, the freedom of communication or the right to privacy. So far, they have also turned out to be a political and technical failure. Even if they are encouraged by the European Commission and the draft ACTA agreement, such measures giving investigation, evidence collection and sanction powers to private actors are not tolerable in democracies abiding by the rule of Law.”

“EU citizens must remain watchful and continue their essential work of informing their elected representatives about the crucial role that a free Internet plays for the future of our societies and an expanded creative economy. Only through civic engagement and democracy can the lies of the entertainment industries be rejected as such. Soon, elected representatives across Europe will realize that the crusade of these industries against their own public undermines the founding values of our democracies, and that it should be stopped by all means.”