Spain warned by Commissioner Reding for cutting off Internet access

By EDRi · December 2, 2009

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Deutsch: [Kommissarin Reding verwarnt Spanien vor der Unterbindung von Internetzugängen|]

On 23 November 2009, at the Spanish Telecom Regulatory Authority (CMT)
international meeting, Viviane Reding warned that the European Commission
could take action against Spain if the government decided to cut the
Internet access of file-sharers.

“Repression alone will certainly not solve the problem of Internet piracy;
it may in many ways even run counter to the rights and freedoms which are
part of Europe’s values since the French Revolution,” said the Commissioner
who reminded Spain that the new telecom package agreed upon in November by
the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers included a provision
considering as illegal the internet access cut-off without an official
procedure. “The new internet freedom provision now provides that any
measures taken regarding access to and use of services and applications must
always respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens,” and
“Effective and timely judicial review is as much guaranteed as a prior, fair
and impartial procedure, the presumption of innocence and the right to
privacy,” said Reding.

As she has said on several other occasions, the Commissioner believes that
new business models and modern, efficient ways must be found to protect
intellectual property and artistic creation.

On this occasion, she also criticised France’s Hadopi three strikes law,
argued that the development of a single European market for online content
was a better way to act against Internet piracy and regretted the
fragmentation of copyright law across the EU. “The lifting of impediments to
the cross-border online distribution of creative works will improve the
supply of attractive and affordable services that are legal. In turn, this
will reduce the temptation for consumers to indulge in the illicit
consumption of copyright-protected material.”

Reinaldo Rodríguez, the President of the CMT considers Reding’s statements
are based on a misunderstanding and is confident that there will be no
conflicts between the Spanish legislation and that of the EU. The Spanish
Minister of Culture Ángeles González-Sinde has several times expressed her
position against the French model being in favour of prosecuting illegal
downloading sites but not users.

The Spanish association of operators REDTEL is also opposed to the
disconnection of the allegedly illegal downloaders, believing that
sectioning measures are only doomed to fail and that raising awareness would
be a much more efficient solution. The operators believe that while the
citizens ask cultural materials more and more on new channels, the culture
industry refrains from directing its offer through the Internet, in a legal
form and with attractive deals.

On 10 December 2009, a proposition will be presented to the Government by
the coalition of content creators. The proposition will be centered on
blocking P2P websites downloading contents from the Internet and not on
cutting access of users.

Reding warns Spain against internet cut-off (24.11.2009)

Commissioner warns Spain that cutting-off Internet enters into conflict with
EU (only in Spanish, 23.11.2009)

The European Commissioner warns Spain over regulating P2P (only in Spanish,

The Coallition will ask the Government for the blocking of P2P websites, but
never for the disconnection (only in Spanish, 2.11.2009)

Spanish activists issue manifesto on the rights of Internet users (2.12.2009)

Spanish activists issue manifesto on the rights of Internet users