About Reda’s report

When I first read former MEP Amelia Andersdotter’s comments on the Legal Affairs Committee rapporteur Julia Reda and her evaluation of the EU Copyright Directive, I could not help but giggling:

“Even the European Commission has set a higher standard for themselves than this. It has acknowledged since 2009 that there is a problem with the substance of copyright. […] De facto, Julia Reda is more conservative than the European Commission, and this is a massive problem for representative democracy.”, Amelia says. “So we have a copyright-friendly, cyber-security inspired German trying to impose Brussels-made statist policy on 507 millions citizens of Europe which leaves stuff more or less the same. Angela Merkel could not have done it better had she tried.”, she adds.

Surely the Swedish politician was pissed not having been re-elected while Julia Reda had somehow taken her place as Pirate Parti representative in the European Parliament – well, that was my first thought. The thing is, such a statement dramatically weakens the European Pirate Party, which Amelia happens to be Chair of. However bitter she might be, she is way too smart for any petty behaviour that would endanger her own camp, so what on Earth could have inspired her such a violent critic – except maybe, an urge of saying the truth? Curiosity was too high. While I had pledged not getting into European politics anymore, there was only one thing I could do here: reading Reda’s report. To find out that sadly… Little Amelia, as usual, was right.

What a disappointment indeed while discovering the document. Or we can phrase it the other way round: it just confirms once again that there is nothing, absolutelly nothing to get out of the European Institutions anymore – as apparently even the best of us loose their guts once elected. What I am wondering though is how the text could have received the support of organisations such as La Quadrature Du Net. As if everybody had suddenly given up fighting the European Copyright Directive main flaw, ie. the stipulations making illegal the circumvention of technical measures (DRMs).

Despite the multiple perverse effects of the latter indeed, among which, the heavy threat on innovation, privacy and security, their existence as such does not seem to be challenged at all here in Reda’s report. In other words, software installed by companies to protect what they – according to their own subjective criteria – consider shall be subject to copyright remains not only blessed but also highly protected. So then, what is the report proposing to reform? Well, paragraph 24 at the very end does attempt to address abusive uses and I suppose, would still be better than nothing, as the European Parliament would recommend:

“making legal protection against the circumvention of any effective technological measures conditional upon the publication of the source code or the interface specification, in order to secure the integrity of devices on which technological protections are employed and to ease interoperability; in particular, when the circumvention of technological measures is allowed, technological means to achieve such authorised circumvention must be available”.

Some may say, the European Union would never go backwards to suppress entire pieces of regulation, which is why Julia Reda did not even try, and rather suggested to amend it. This is after all a very reasonable position, and gives it more chances to be adopted. Except that if the European Pirate Party starts turning a blind eye on legal aberrations, betting that at least some of their ideas will go through, their very existence may have to be reconsidered. Other parties do that very well already, and with the best intentions.