EU curbs Spain on Internet piracy laws

Nov. 24, 2009 at 11:18 AM
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BRUSSELS, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- The European Union warned Spain it may not cut off Internet access to suspected content pirates without EU-determined due process of law.

EU telecommunications chief Viviane Reding told the Spanish Telecommunications Market Commission that cutting off access without a procedure in front of a judge will run Spain into conflict with the European Commission, the EU Observer reported Tuesday.

The European Parliament and the Council of Ministers this month agreed on telecommunications laws that included a provision that made it illegal to cut off Internet access without an official procedure.

"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," Reding said.

Currently, EU nations may devise their own rules on piracy, but must be wary of running afoul of the EU provisions, the EU Observer reported.

"I therefore invite the Spanish authorities to consult very closely with the European Commission before heading into a direction which could soon turn out to be a blind alley, " Reding said.

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