EU urges balance between Internet freedom and copyright

January 22, 2012
The home page of Megaupload.com, one of the largest file-sharing websites shut down by US authorities, is seen on January 20. Governments must strike a balance between policing the Internet to protect copyright and upholding freedom of expression, EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding has said.

Governments must strike a balance between policing the Internet to protect copyright and upholding freedom of expression, EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding said on Sunday.

Reding was reacting to a US crackdown on hundreds of websites accused of offering pirated music or movies or , as well as calls for new legislation to guard intellectual property.

"The protection of creators must never be used as pretext to intervene in the freedom of the Internet," Reding told an international Internet conference in the southern German city of Munich, noting the "heated debate" surrounding the issue.

US authorities have seized more than 350 website domain names since launching an anti-online piracy campaign dubbed "Operation In Our Sites" more than 18 months ago, including a spectacular global swoop on file-sharing site Megaupload.com.

But US congressional leaders put strict anti-online piracy legislation on hold following a wave of protests led by and Wikipedia denouncing the bills as a threat to .

Reding warned against an overzealous approach that could have a chilling effect on the industry.

"You'll never have from Europe a blocking of the Internet -- that's not the European option," she said.

"Freedom of information and copyright must not be enemies, they are partners... European policy aims at equilibrating the respect of both rights."

She outlined proposals to protect the online data of to be presented in the coming days.

The current legal "patchwork will be replaced by one law which will apply to all member states, to all companies which are offering their goods and services to consumers, even if their servers are based outside the EU", she said.

The legislation would restrict Internet giants such as and Google from collecting the personal data of European web users and getting around European privacy laws by storing it abroad.

Reding said she aimed to have companies obtain the consent of consumers for the use of their data in "clear" terms, explain how it is stored and notify users if it is stolen or lost.

She said web users should also have the "right to be forgotten", or the right to withdraw their consent and have their data erased except in cases where there is a legitimate interest in maintaining information in a database.

Explore further: EU Parliament rejects law allowing Internet cutoff

Related Stories

EU Parliament rejects law allowing Internet cutoff

May 6, 2009

(AP) -- Worried about trampling on the rights of innocent consumers, the European Parliament rejected Wednesday attempts by EU governments to crack down on people who illegally download copyright-protected music and movies ...

EU, US discuss data protection deal

April 14, 2011

EU and US officials met in Hungary Thursday to try to move forward negotiations for a framework deal to protect the privacy of European citizens' data in future anti-terror operations.

EU data protection reform to replace national laws

November 28, 2011

The European Union wants to replace a mishmash of national laws on data protection with one bloc-wide reform, updating laws put in place long before Facebook and other social networking sites even existed.

EU urges US to bolster data protection practices

December 6, 2011

(AP) -- The EU wants the United States to strengthen data protection practices in order to create a uniform "privacy landscape" on both sides of the Atlantic, a top official said Tuesday.

EU Internet czar tweets against SOPA

January 20, 2012

The European Union's Internet czar on Friday added her voice to resistance to the Stop Online Piracy Act, in an unusually open comment on pending U.S. legislation.

Megaupload latest target of US anti-piracy campaign

January 21, 2012

File-sharing website Megaupload is the most high-profile target yet of a US campaign which has seen the seizure of hundreds of sites accused of offering pirated music or movies or counterfeit goods.

Recommended for you

Interactive tool lifts veil on the cost of nuclear energy

August 24, 2015

Despite the ever-changing landscape of energy economics, subject to the influence of new technologies and geopolitics, a new tool promises to root discussions about the cost of nuclear energy in hard evidence rather than ...

Smart home heating and cooling

August 28, 2015

Smart temperature-control devices—such as thermostats that learn and adjust to pre-programmed temperatures—are poised to increase comfort and save energy in homes.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.