Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland – only EU members on the same page vis-a-vis Internet content control

The European Council of Ministers of Communications made what could be a historic session this week in Brussels. In the post-discussion main attention went to the lowering of the price of SMS (text messaging) for European citizens, but I am more interested in an aspect of that meeting, related to the Internet. You can read more about the former from the Economist, and about the latter at heise.

Here’s the part that is of interest for me:

    During the debate, Denmark and Austria were among those wanting to keep that clause, signalling their opposition to the controversial French plans to introduce a system of “graduated response” to copyright infringements, which could go all the way up to barring access to parts of the internet. Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary too wanted the package to completely exclude questions of copyright enforcement and the promotion of creative content.

What it means, is that Bulgaria was defending its image as one of the countries with most liberal Internet-related legislature.
Our head of the IT and communications authority, Dr. Plamen Vatchkov, said, during the discussion at the ministerial meeting in Brussels:
And last but not least, in the context of the forthcoming negotiations with the Parliament on the package I would like to express our concerns regarding the tendency to include provisions related to the regulation of content in the telecom package. Despite the convergence of the telecommunications, media and information technology sectors we still believe that the principle of separation of the regulation of transmission from the regulation of content should be applied and we would be rather reluctant to accept inclusion of content related provisions in the eCommunications framework.

The fact that three of the “new Europe” countries have supported such a position is a positive sign that Europe, too, is changing.

The question now is, whether the US will change its old-fashioned legal system with regards to copyright on the Internet, and will find strength to create a new model for copyright in the 21st century.

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