Europe Votes Against Online Copyright Law

    April 11, 2008

The European Parliament shot down the proposal to ban file sharing by private individuals and dropped the idea to bar copyright abusers from the Internet.

In a close vote, 314 Members of the European Parliament voted to reject an amendment that would have protected copyright on the Internet and 297 voted against throwing out the amendment.

"The vote shows that MEPs want to strike a balance between the interests of rights holders and those of consumers, and that big measures like cutting off Internet access shouldn’t be used," said Malene Folke Chaucheprat, a European Parliament spokeswoman, after the vote.

The recording industry was not happy with the vote. "One badly drafted, rushed through amendment was adopted which is in contradiction to the rest of the text," said Frances Moore, executive vice president of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

France has similar laws in place and favors a three strikes law which means copyright violators would lose their right to an Internet account after being caught a third time for sharing copyright protected music online.

France takes over the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union in the second part of this year and it is expected to push for E.U. laws like its own.

The UK-based Open Rights Group said," As the European Parliament have recognized today, [the measures] are disproportionate, they lack consumer safeguards and they won’t stop illicit filesharing."