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French "Three Strikes" Law Gets New Life 193

Posted by kdawson
from the batter-batter-batter dept.
Kjella writes "A little over a week ago we discussed the EU's forbidding of disconnecting users from the Internet. But even after having passed with an 88% approval in the European Parliament, and passing through the European Commission, it was all undone last week. The European Council, led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, removed the amendment before passing the Telecom package. This means that there's now nothing stopping France's controversial 'three strikes' law from going into effect. What hope is there for a 'parliament' where near-unanimous agreement can be completely undone so easily?"
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French "Three Strikes" Law Gets New Life

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  • by Nursie (632944) on Monday December 01, 2008 @07:58PM (#25953841)

    The EU is a great idfea but the execution is terrible. The council should be destroyed, stricken from the legislature.

    That anyone on the council thought that this was even remotely conscionable tells you just how undemocratic the people on it are. The fact that they could then go and do this tells you how undemocratic the council system is.

    Get rid of it. It's sick.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Fluffeh (1273756)
      Hmmm, I guess it's sort of like Al Gore winning the presidential election, but George Bush ending up the President?

      It's all about thinking you are in a democracy, not actually being in one. Happy people are easier to control.

      Lordy, I think all this /. paranoia is finally starting to rub off on me.
    • by lordholm (649770) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @02:09AM (#25956485) Homepage

      Well, if the council changes it, the new proposal has to pass through the parliament again (they cannot just change the directive and be done with it (they could in the 80s, but the world have changed since then and the EP have a lot more power)):

      Look at: http://ec.europa.eu/codecision/stepbystep/diagram_en.htm [europa.eu]

      I think that they just finished point 9. This means that the EP must take the councils amendments and their common position into account and vote again, the parliament have all the rights to reintroduce the amendment that was dropped by the council.

      If they do, they are putting a clear message to them that the amendment is critical and the directive will not pass without it.

      This is why you have a bicameral system. You cannot just remove the points by the other camber and be done with it.

      Although the EU legislative system has it's flaws, it is often criticized today for how it worked in the 80's at which point it was still an international organisation (and a lot of the critics believe it still works as in the 80s).

      There are problems for sure, such as that the council is not appointed as a separate body, but it consists of the member states governments (i.e. it would be better with senators that do not have a foot in the member states' governments since the council would then be accountable to Europe and you could in theory fire the entire council, but any way... I am drifting of my main points now).

      I do not like the council, but it is not really as bad as you think. Please write your parliamentarian and ask them what they will do for the second reading.

      • by PinkyDead (862370)

        IANAL definitely required here, but....

        The 3 strikes clause comes under the Telecommunications policy area of the Trans European Network. And, while Transport is covered by co-decision, Energy and Telecoms are not (yet). Now while, the whole proposal comes under co-decision, this element does not and so they can bypass the approval process, if the changes are to element not requiring co-decision.

        (I'm totally open to correction on this).

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Agreed. As an European who likes the whole idea, I would happily get rid of the European Council which serves nothing except providing an easy point of entry to lobbyists and corruption.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vidarh (309115)
      The biggest problem is trying to build a supernational government without actually going the full hog. The EU today is a little bit like the US when it was still a confederation of sovereign states, and there's the constant battle between the elected EU parliament and the appointed organs and individual member state governments.

      The EU is going to remain a mess until support for a federal model gets strong enough. However, the populations in most member states are for the time being more likely to support

    • by PinkyDead (862370)

      The council of ministers consists of ministers from each country in the EU. Those ministers represent the democratically elected governments of each of the EU member states. Those governments are answerable to their parliaments and as such are directly answerable to the electorate. How much more democratic do you need?

      There is of course a slight imbalance in that smaller states have proportionally greater power than larger states - this is a common problem in the EU which could be rectified if the EU par

  • by sveard (1076275) * on Monday December 01, 2008 @08:00PM (#25953859) Homepage

    The European parliament in Strassbourg (France): http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0a/Institutions_europeennes_IMG_4292.jpg [wikimedia.org]

    I see my country's flag. Yet my voice can not be heard.

    • They're mostly on the side of angels. Seriously. Maybe the fact that they don't have that much actual power forces them to act more responsibly. I don't know. But they usually side with the good guys.

  • No standing anyway (Score:4, Interesting)

    by l2718 (514756) on Monday December 01, 2008 @08:03PM (#25953893)
    \begin{rant}

    This French law is stupid, but to what extent should the badly-run shady organization in Brussels overturn by fiat laws made by the National Assembly?

    The European Union executive runs roughshod over the European Parliament; there is much backroom dealing and invisible lobbying. Under such conditions I don't think the laws passed have much legitimacy, even if they achieve good results (they rarely do). Depending on the dictators from Brussels to enforce freedom in France is a contradiction in terms.

    \end{rant}

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nursie (632944)

      That's the problem, the dictators in Brussels.

      The parliament also needs reform, greater visibilty and greater accountability. The reason they can ride roughshod over national laws is because member states lead by France gave them that power. It's perfectly legitimate, or at least it would be without the damned comission.

    • by marnues (906739) on Monday December 01, 2008 @08:17PM (#25954013)
      As an American, I want a strong EU. They are an entity that would bring very positive competition that I'm not certain China or India can offer. So please take your rant and turn it into activism. Change those "dictators in Brussels" into democratically elected and fully responsible civil servants. The world would be a much better place.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by eiapoce (1049910)

        You miss a point: The whole concept of europe is based on the concept that some selfappointed burocrats run everything while the elected MEPs have absolutely no power, the parlament "rubberstamps" decisions taken by others... Nations can't decide anymore what's legal nor how to regulate the invasion from north africa even inside their borders. New laws against "xenofobia" are coming into effect whose aim is to suppress free speech.

        The problem, or good part of it, is that Sarko is such a id..t that he makes

      • by rve (4436)

        The EU isn't like the US federal government. The EU is a group of independent nations that have voluntarily chosen to cooperate economically rather than violently competing over scarce resources as in the period up to 1945.

        In this sense, the EU has been a great success. War between EU member states is now pretty much unimaginable.

        The EU council is not a 'government', the power lies with the various national governments. The primary function of EU regulations is to make the one common market possible without

        • the EU has been a great success. War between EU member states is now pretty much unimaginable.

          Without another Europe, that didn't have an EU and did have a war in the late 20th/early 21st century, that claim is totally unproven.

          • by Thiez (1281866)

            You misunderstand GP. He didn't say 'The EU has prevented one or more wars between member states', he said 'War between EU member states is very unlikely, this can at least partially be explained by the existence of the EU'. Which is true. The whole point of the EU was to give European countries common economic interests, so they would work together instead of attack eachother. The fact that a European constitution was even considered should be an indication of how well the member states work together these

        • by theaveng (1243528)

          You said the EU is not like the U.S., and then proceeded to describe the U.S. circa 1780. The U.S. was not just born... it was a gradual process from 13 independent states to a confederation of states, to a union of states, and finally a nation under one supreme government.

          The EU is slowly but surely marching down the same path. If the Constitution had passed, the EU would be like the U.S. around the year 1900.

    • by Idiomatick (976696) on Monday December 01, 2008 @08:20PM (#25954033)

      It is relatively new. And it is a force of good. But it has much to improve. We shouldn't call for destruction of the EU but rather better mechanisms.

    • The European Court of Human Rights (which is not an EU institution, but close enough) acts as a last measure in many cases, much like the SCOTUS but w/o Adolf, err Antonin Scalia. They forced many positive changes in our disturbingly creepy judicial practices.
      In other matters the Commission forced the break up of the former telecom monopoly, which resulted in one of the highest broadband penetration in the world. They might next save us from the current oligopoly in the mobile phone network industry, which

    • by Aceticon (140883)

      I bet you live in the UK.

      <rant target="average_brit">

      The locals (yes, I'm living here ATM) are constantly brainwashed by the local politicians and media with bullshit talk of British exceptionalism and that only bad things come from the EU.

      Well, I have news for you:
      - The Empire is long gone. Nowadays the only thing the British are exceptional at is extra shoddy management (as compared with Northern European nations - I've lived in Holland so i can compare), an unhealthy level of consumption of stories

      • I can't speak for all of Europe but from what I've seen, Belgium, Italy and France aren't all that different.

        If you don't like it, then why don't you just fuck off?

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday December 01, 2008 @08:16PM (#25954001)

    The EU is something of the worst parts of a government and a diplomatic organization. It wants to pretend to be the unified European government, but it really isn't. It also isn't democratically elected or directly accountable to it's constituents.

    The basic problem is that the European nations wanted to create a union that was along the lines of the United States (which as the name implies is a union of independent states). However they half-assed it. The reason the United States is so powerful is because of the united nature. While the states are independent, the laws of one do not affect the laws of another, they are all a lesser part of the whole. The states have to do as the federal government says and there is no leaving the union (that was what the civil war was actually about, can you leave the union). Though separate, they act as a whole.

    Now this means two important things on a governmental level:

    1) The federal government has real power. It can make laws, treaties and so on that the several states are required to abide by (within the bounds allowed in the Constitution). There isn't any weaseling out of it or leaving. Thus the government can speak for the US as a whole.

    2) The government is directly accountable to the people. The federal government is elected by the citizens of the states, and thus is accountable to them. If they behave in a way the citizens don't like, they can be ousted as happened in this most recent election. Though it is a republic, not a democracy, it is still a democratic process where the people in the states say who will lead, not the leaders of the states.

    Well unless the EU is willing to do this sort of thing, then crap like this ruling will happen. It isn't a real government. It has some trappings of a government, and some authority like it, but it isn't really a government.

    I really think the EU needs to change. They either need to go all the way, become a unified nation fully, or they need to scale back, and basically become a trading bloc. This "We're a European government but not really and you don't get to elect us," is just bad news IMO.

    • by Nursie (632944) on Monday December 01, 2008 @08:18PM (#25954025)

      We elect the european parliament.

      Just not the commission. This must change, starting with the scrapping of the commission.

      • by jrumney (197329)
        Right, but that would not have had an effect in this case, since the Commission rubber stamped the Parliament's decision, and it was the European Council (made up of the elected heads of member states) that vetoed it.
      • by Teun (17872) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @01:29AM (#25956249) Homepage
        We (Europeans) elect the commision too, directly via our national governments.

        Indirect voting is just another form of democracy, a bit like the electoral vote in the USofA.

        The real problem are France and the UK, they form an axis of evil that refuses to grant the European Parliament full rights.
        This is especially cynical when you see and hear how the British press is always going on about the so-called non-elected bureaucrats in Brussels, I believe the British scandal press is part of the European problem not getting solved.
        • by Zoxed (676559) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @06:49AM (#25957737) Homepage

          > This is especially cynical when you see and hear how the British press is always going on about the so-called non-elected bureaucrats in Brussels,

          It always makes me laugh when I read this kind of stuff in the press: coming from a country with a non-elected 2nd house, and a non-elected *head of state* (who can dissolve parliament, declare war etc!!).

    • The federal government has real power. It can make laws, treaties and so on that the several states are required to abide by (within the bounds allowed in the Constitution). There isn't any weaseling out of it or leaving. Thus the government can speak for the US as a whole. Wrong. The judiciary can overide and ignore laws and treaties negotiated and approved by the federal government. For an example see the Softwood Lumber dispute between Canada & the US.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        this would be the state judiciaries? No - the federal judiciary overturned a decision taken by the federal government. However the mechanism actually works, the GP's point, that the federal government actually runs the country that the rest of the world sees, is still valid.

    • by eiapoce (1049910)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6QmH-7fu68 [youtube.com] > this is how they are building the uberstate: violating the rules

    • by Narpak (961733) on Monday December 01, 2008 @09:53PM (#25954725)

      I really think the EU needs to change. They either need to go all the way, become a unified nation fully, or they need to scale back, and basically become a trading bloc. This "We're a European government but not really and you don't get to elect us," is just bad news IMO.

      There is strong sentiment within several of the member states of the EU to withdraw from the organization. The European Parliament and Commission is seen, by many, as weak and/or corrupt (depending on who you ask); and the rest don't really know who they are or what they do.

      The Governments of England, France and Germany do not wish to give away more of their own sovereignty or power, yet they wish to maintain or increase their influence upon the management and direction of the EU itself. At the same time as they want to remain as much a part from it as possible. If the EU were to become a proper union it would drastically reduce the power of some of the founding states, while increasing the influence of economically weaker nations (such as Poland).

      Cultural, economical and political factors ensure that the EU as it stands today will never become a Union and if the governing body of the EU tried to do anything that seemed to pull towards such a scenario the Union would dissolve in a heart beat. It has no military power, and none of the member states wish to give their military, or security, forces over to EU control. Not to mention the fact that some member states are a member of NATO while others are not.

      In practical terms as it today the EU drafts various trade laws that it tries to enforce upon weaker nations while the stronger nations decide if they want to implement, ignore, claim to lack the resources to implement, really lack the resources to implement or simply decide that it is not in their best interest to implement.

      Then there is the EEA (European Economic Area) which binds the signing Nations to parts of the EU laws. EEA is the members of EU and Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. Oh and Switzerland isn't part of the EEA because they got a special deal with the EU (since their constitution requires them to vote upon ever part of the "Deal" offered by EU membership). These nations gets free trade within the EU (kinda, but not really); but they have to follow parts of EU law (those outside the EU gets no say or influence upon those laws).

      If you are confused by any of this, or don't get how this really is supposed to work in practice; then don't worry; most of us Europeans don't get it either. For the most part we refuse or neglect to do any sort of personal research on the subject; much rather we listen to our own national politicians who have a real self interest (as I mentioned earlier) in keeping what power they have within their own Nation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Teun (17872)

        There is strong sentiment within several of the member states of the EU to withdraw from the organization.

        But none of them is a key member.

        The Governments of England, France and Germany do not wish to give away more of their own sovereignty or power, yet they wish to maintain or increase their influence upon the management and direction of the EU itself.

        You are wrong about Germany, historically it's only the UK and France that limit the rights of the European Parliament.

        At the same time as they want to remain as much a part from it as possible. If the EU were to become a proper union it would drastically reduce the power of some of the founding states, while increasing the influence of economically weaker nations (such as Poland).

        • by Narpak (961733)

          But none of them is a key member./quote Which makes it more understandable why they want to withdraw. All members are equal, but some members are more equal than others.

          • by Teun (17872)
            Hey, that sounds like democracy, the majority decides!
            But you also point out why we need a 'Level Playing field', it is not a Dictatorship of the Majority we want or need.
    • In short, they don't realize that it takes both the United part and the States part before the United States of Europe will work. So until they do, we're trapped in a metastable state and waiting for it to decay.
    • Sounds an awful lot like the states now a days...
  • Why is Sarkozy so keen on draconian copyright laws and punishments for people breaking it? Could it be that his latest wife is a singer, composer and model?

    I mean, most politicians are pretty self centered and don't give a rat's ass about their subjects, but I have rarely seen it used with such bluntness.

  • What was the European Council doing passing legislation? They are not supposed to have legislative powers, they get together a couple of times a year to propose policy direction for the Parliament and Commission to follow.
  • by theocrite (1348043) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @01:49AM (#25956379)
    A little note. From the article :

    The European Council, led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, removed the amendment before passing the Telecom package.

    Well not exactly.
    First of all, this is the Council of the European Union [wikipedia.org], not the European Council [wikipedia.org]. Everybody confuses them (and also with the Council of Europe [wikipedia.org], with is not related with European Union. Someone even mixed up with the European Commission [wikipedia.org] some comments above). Some people argue that people make things hard (like similar names hard to remember), so that it's harder to fight (you can't fight what you don't understand).

    Also, the Council wasn't led by Sarkozy, but by Luc Chatel [wikipedia.org], secretary of State for Consumer affairs and Industry. But it's true that nobody in the French government would have the guts to make Sarkozy unhappy on purpose. They are totally devoted to him. So incidentally we can indeed say that Sarkozy led the Council even if he wasn't here.

    Laquadrature published something more accurate : Citizen safeguards striked out in EU Council [laquadrature.net]

    This means that there's now nothing stopping France's controversial 'three strikes' law from going into effect. What hope is there for a 'parliament' where near-unanimous agreement can be completely undone so easily?"

    Woa, kinda alarmist, don't you think ?

    The text hasn't been adopted yet. You can fin a nice diagram [laquadrature.net] describing where we are in the current procedure. The step described in this article is the point #4=>#9. The next step will be #11. But first, there will be a tripartite meeting (Council + MEPs + commission) and probably a #10 as commission and council doesn't agree.

    So there will be a second reading by the EP. So please stop saying that UE is a dictatorship. There are a lot of things to notice before we can say that :

    • As you can see on the diagram 1/ there will be a second reading by the EP 2/whatever happens then, after the second reading by the council, the act cannot be adopted without EP approval (steps #15, #28 and #30).
    • At any moment, the commission can change the text (or withdraw it).
    • Remember that the two legislative chambers are composed by MEPs (elected), and by ministers (witch are named, this is true, but you elected the guy who names them).
    • As a French, I can say that it's way much easier/friendlier to reach MEP, than member of my own national parliament. I can argue with them (and by them, in most case, I mean their assisants), I can know what they do, what they vote etc. For example : if I want to know who voted for 138, then I just wget the pdf from the EP webside, and I can see a list of names page 43 : http://quadrature.theocrite.org/results_of_roll_call_votes_20080924.pdf [theocrite.org] . This allows people to script the results and make it more user friendly, like this : http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Telecoms_package_directives_1st_reading_details_by_score [laquadrature.net] . Pretty transparent for a dictatorship, isn't it ?

    Again, nobody says that EU is perfect. Of course it isn't. But saying that "The EU is a great idea but the execution is terrible.", or other thing I read in the comments, seems disproportionated to me. It's probably due to the fact that the article was mis

    • by Cochonou (576531)
      It will be stronger and totally focused on the 3-strike approach and the french law (HADOPI) with is being examined by the French Parliament and Senate.

      Wouldn't such a focus weaken the 88% agreement of the European Parliament ? The amendment was previously written in general terms, which seemed like a good idea in order to make it relevant to the whole European Union. I fear that if it becomes too obvious that some MEP are fighting at the European Parliament level a national battle, the support might van
    • by Kjella (173770)

      This means that there's now nothing stopping France's controversial 'three strikes' law from going into effect. What hope is there for a 'parliament' where near-unanimous agreement can be completely undone so easily?"

      Woa, kinda alarmist, don't you think ?

      From what I've understood, the "three strikes" law is a French law that has been / is getting passed into law. The EU directive would prevent it, but if the EU drops the amendment, is lost in some endless deliberations or in fact reaches no final decision at all then there is nothing stopping it. And yes, the last sentence is a bit alarmist but I don't know when almost 90% of the politicans agreed on something that's good for the people...

    • by master_p (608214)

      Thank you for the enlightening post.

      What is terrifying, at least for me, is the amount of bureaucracy involved: for all these councils to exist, there are hundreds of thousands of people revolving around those councils...people that, in most cases, push papers around, and do nothing essentially productive.

      I think that EU needs to be simplified (just like many other things :-)). There should be a EU government, much like the Federal Government in the USA. This government should be electable directly by the p

  • Demand that your countries council representative be directly elected. This exactly how the US Senate became democratic early last century: Campaigns in Oregon and Nevada forced those states to elect their Senators, and once they had, the rest had eventually to follow suit.

    Once a large EU member or a few small ones do this, the same will happen in the EU.

    Another reason why this is the best way to reform the EU is that doing it this way does not threaten further integration: the representative would be a cr

    • The council consists of heads of state, so changing the way members are elected would have to change the way heads of states are elected. This varies from country to country, but I believe the most common case is that the prime minister represents the country, and the prime minister is elected by parliament.
      I say scrap the council, or at least severely limit its role to purely executive. It should have no legislative powers.

  • Coming to think of it, copyright (or more precisely copydeny) was a european idea in the first place. It's just funny that while attributed as having originated in the U.K., it's the French right now who act as its most rabid supporters (at least sarkoficcially).

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