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Leading Parliamentary Committee on Copyright Reform Tackles Most Problematic Provisions

Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Therese Comodini Cachia released her much awaited Draft Report on the European Commission’s proposal for a Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. We have previously commented on the Draft Opinions by the Culture and Education (CULT) and Internal Market (IMCO) committees (see respectively blog posts here and here). The Opinions of these committees, together with those of the Industry & Research (ITRE) and Civil Liberties (LIBE) committees, are to be taken into consideration in the Report by the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee leading the debate in Parliament.

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CDT @ RightsCon 2017

This year, RightsCon is taking place in Brussels, and CDT is planning to be out in full force. RightsCon, organized by our friends at Access Now, is the can’t-miss event for the digital rights community. The EU-based CDT team is pleased to welcome a number of our colleagues from Washington to town for this important event, 29-31 March 2017. Take a look at all the events we’re a part of.

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Demanding Passwords at the Border Would Undermine Human Rights and Personal Security

Based on remarks by the Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, the U.S. government is considering taking advantage of the vulnerable moment when someone passes through border control to collect social media account passwords of non-citizens. The government cannot have access to people’s passwords simply because they cross the border. Full stop.

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Promising Hearing on Section 702

On Wednesday, March 1, the House Judiciary Committee held a promising hearing to review Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which expires on Dec. 31, 2017 unless reauthorized. Section 702 authorizes surveillance targeting non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States if a “primary purpose” of the surveillance is to collect foreign intelligence information. Section 702 surveillance programs were among the more prominent surveillance programs revealed in 2013 by Edward Snowden. After a lengthy, reportedly well-attended classified session with intelligence officials, only a handful of members returned for the open session. But the members who did return made the most of their time; in particular, Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Ted Poe (R-TX), and Jim Jordan (R-OH) asked many of the right questions and signaled the need for meaningful reforms to 702 to protect civil liberties. Their questions and concerns suggest that Section 702 reauthorizing legislation must include substantial reforms in order to get through the House Judiciary Committee.

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CDT Welcomes IMCO’s Draft Opinion on Copyright in the Digital Single Market as a First Step Towards a Balanced Debate

The adoption of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market as proposed by the European Commission requires several Committees of the European Parliament to draft Opinions as a form of ‘consultation’ to be considered in the Report by the Committee leading this file in the Parliament, the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee. Following the publication of the draft Opinion of the Culture and Education (CULT) Committee of the European Parliament, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee Rapporteur, MEP Catherine Stihler (S&D, UK), recently published her draft Opinion on the matter. While the CULT draft Opinion, with its many flaws as we have previously pointed out, positively acknowledges the crucial role of internet users as contributors to the digital ecosystem, the IMCO draft Opinion goes even further in the amendment proposals and emphasises the interests of a wide range of players in the copyright ecosystem: from internet users and SMEs, to creators and the education, research and cultural heritage institutions. This alone deserves our praise.

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Civil Liberties Committee Defends Free Expression in AVMS Directive Debate

The European Parliament is amending the legislative proposal to reform the EU Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive. The Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) of the European Parliament adopted earlier this month its Opinion on the review, which will be taken into account by the Culture and Education Committee (CULT) leading this debate in Parliament. We welcome LIBE’s Opinion, which, contrary to CULT’s draft Report, amongst other positive elements, highlights the importance of protecting freedom of expression and information in the context of a fast-evolving media landscape, maintaining the liability protections in the E-Commerce Directive, as well as ensuring prior judicial authorisation when determining the illegality of content, elements which we will continue to strongly advocate for in this debate.

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Opinion on the DSM Copyright Directive Adds, Rather than Solves, Problems

A recent opinion on copyright from the the European Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee (CULT) fails to address CDT’s core concerns with current attempts to update copyright law for the digital age. MEP Marc Joulaud (France, EPP), issued his draft opinion on the proposed Directive on copyright in the digital single market, and while he did at least acknowledge that internet users are important contributors to the digital ecosystem, he mostly left in place counterproductive amendments and vague language that will make enforcement of any provisions difficult.

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EU Tech Policy Brief: February 2017

This is February issue of CDT’s monthly EU Tech Policy Brief. It highlights some of the most pressing technology and Internet policy issues under debate in Europe, the US, and internationally, and gives CDT’s perspective on them.

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