Multiple reports today indicate that opposition is growing in Europe to plans for three-strikes policies that could lead to the termination of Internet access for some subscribers. In the U.K., protests are mounting over those plans in the recently introduced Digital Economy Bill. The BBC reports that thousands of people have signed a petition urging the government to reconsider its approach, while the Open Rights Group says it has seen a big spike in membership. The UK's Internet Service Provider Association has unsurprisingly voiced its opposition, stating "rather than focusing blindly on enforcement, the government should be asking rights holders to reform the licensing framework so that legal content can be distributed online to consumers in a way that they are clearly demanding." The Telegraph reports popular author Stephen Fry has lent his support to opposing the bill, vowing to urge people to sign the petition until a million people have signed on.
Meanwhile, European Union Telecom Commissioner Vivianne Reding has warned Spain against adopting a three-strikes model without a procedure before a judge. Reding added:
"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. 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. We need to find new, more modern and more effective ways in Europe to protect intellectual property and artistic creation. 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."
The Spanish telecommunications industry is reportedly puzzled by the comments since the Spanish government has made it clear it does not plan to adopt a three-strikes approach. Reding's comments — along with the protests in the UK — provide an important reminder that three-strikes remains highly controversial and is opposed by thousands of people as well as leading politicians.
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