Readers in Europe who care about keeping the Internet relatively neutral need to express that opinion to policymakers in the European Parliament by April 29. In particular, it is inexplicable why the Green Party is on the sidelines and not actively supporting the Citizens' Rights Amendments that have been tabled to restore users' rights that were in an earlier version of the gargantuan Telecoms Package making its way through the European Parliament. Erik Josefsson is a leading proponent of these amendments, and he is hosting PDF versions of the amendments Part I, Part II and Part III on his site.
The magic numbers in this debate have been 138 and 166. These are the two amendments that initially were hailed in the US press as recognizing access to the Internet as a fundamental right, countering French President Nicolas Sarkozy's campaign to require service providers to impose the Internet death penalty on users found to have infringed intellectual property rights three times.
Lobbying by representatives of corporate and professional rights owners - remember there is no group dedicated solely to lobbying on behalf of the millions of amateur creators who also are rights owners under copyright - has led to a reversal of this position As Monica Horten reports, the current versions of Amendment 138 and Amendment 166 would allow for imposition of the Internet death penalty and non-neutral network management.
The Citizens' Rights Amendments have been tabled to reverse these back-room deals and to clarify the original position concerning users' rights.
While it is of course up to European citizens to decide for themselves what regulations they want to live under, as a participant in a global network, I hope that those who support the cause of citizens' rights will mobilize to establish those rights in law.