Belgian political parties suspend plans for IPR enforcement measures

By EDRi · March 23, 2011

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Deutsch: [Belgien gibt Pläne zur Durchsetzung geistiger Eigentumsrechte auf |]

Following a reported flood of calls and e-mails to the parliamentarians
involved, a campaign by the digital rights group Belgian Net Users’ Rights
Protection Association (NURPA) and a series of meetings between the Belgian
political parties and ISPA Belgium, the two main parties supporting
restrictive solutions for intellectual property enforcement for Belgium have
decided to suspend their efforts.

Both the Mouvement Reformateur (MR) and Socialist Party (PS) have decided –
albeit for an unspecified period – to remove their initiatives from the
parliamentary calendar. The MR is proposing Hadopi-like measures while the
PS strategy has been to abandon the rule of law and force Internet service
providers to block internet websites.

The MR and PS now appear to have reached the conclusion that a more
defensible methodology will be to organise a comprehensive review of all of
the issues at stake, including the issue of lack of access to legal content
in the right format and price. This is now seen as preferable to focus
solely on repression, in an environment where large sections of the
population see the legal framework as illegitimate.

The increasing reticence of Belgian politicians on this point may not be
hugely surprising. The initial push came from the outlandish promises made
for HADOPI in France which seduced politicians into believing that this
blunt approach might actually work. In January the Union of Independent
French Phonographic Producers issued a statement that HADOPI had no
perceptible impact on the French market – with market figures exactly in
line with comparable European economies where draconian, repressive measures
were not imposed. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Belgian
politicians are increasingly reticent to launch a policy which has no
perceptible advantages for anyone and which causes such damage to both
fundamental rights and to the perceived legitimacy of the legal framework
for intellectual property.

The next stages of the process are not yet clear, as it will be heavily
influenced by political developments in the world-record breaking attempts
to form a government. The entire political process in Belgium is struggling
to cope with ongoing political impasse, with two failed elections already
and a third one likely to strike the country any time over the next few

Music: Independant producers want to debate the support measures (only in
French, 18.01.2011)

Belgian Net Users’ Rights Protection Association

ISPA Belgium

Belgian Internet Service Providers Association

EDRi-gram: Four strikes law returns to Belgium (9.03.2011)

(Contribution by Joe McNamee – EDRi)