It’s over, Europe has finished new internet law. It almost sounds asinine, but now internet users in Europe are promised fair treatment, presumed innocence, and fair trials.
The EU said it best: “Accordingly, these measures may only be taken with due respect for the principle of presumption of innocence and the right to privacy. A prior fair and impartial procedure shall be guaranteed, including the right to be heard of the person or persons concerned, subject to the need for appropriate conditions and procedural arrangements in duly substantiated cases of urgency in conformity with European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The right to an effective and timely judicial review shall be guaranteed.”
Of course, you could have thought that that was the way it had always been. But, as in the United States the legal structure around claimed copyright infringement has always been murky.
With the EU’s new ‘Telecoms Reform Package,’ internet users now have tools to fight against the shutting of their internet connections. Even though this has been strengthened, there are still concerns: “Despite its lack of clarity and ambition, this text does provide legal ammunition to continue the fight against restrictions of internet access, La Quad co-founder Jérémie Zimmermann said in a statement. “The agreed text does not meet the challenge of clearly preserving a fundamental right of access to the net. Threats to internet freedom still loom.”
In totality the provisions are strongly in the favor of the individual. Even with that, without a doubt copyright holders will fight the new laws, and attempt to subvert them. It is, they feel, in their economic best interest.
That said, the EU cannot declare the issue finished. To the contrary, this is a very positive step in a much longer march. I can only hope that the United States catches a similar drift, and moves towards protecting its citizens more strongly, as well.
You can, and should, read more on the bill on ZDNet, which has an excellent overview of the specific tenants of the legislation.