EU Rejects ‘Three Strikes’ Law ... Again

STRAUSBURG, FRANCE -- The European Union again struck down proposed "three strikes" legislation Wednesday that would cut off alleged illegal file-sharers from the Internet.

The latest attempt to implement three strikes was part of broader package to update telecom regulations, reports USA Today. Instead, MEPs reinstated a previous proposal that stated "no restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of users without prior ruling by the judicial authorities."

This marks the fifth time in a year that the European Parliament has shut down a graduated response approach to content piracy on the Web.

It's a clear knock against French President Nicolas Sarkozy's pushing of his country's HADOPI law, which is making another round in the French government for voting. The position also runs counter to Sweden's recently-enacted IPRED law to fight copyright infringement.

The EU government vote was 407 to 57 in favor of rejecting a compromise proposal that would have allowed France to cut off Internet access for those found guilty of file-sharing copyrighted material. The vote also blocks telecom reform in Europe, which while now wait until a new Parliament is in place later this year.

EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding called the vote "an important restatement of the fundamental rights of EU citizens. For many, it is of very high symbolic and political value."

New outlets such as AP report consumer groups immediately celebrated the


"This clearly would have been a disproportionate and unfair penalty and we now call on the next Parliament to explicitly prohibit such a draconian law," said Monique Goyens of the European Consumers' Organization BEUC.

Music and film industry companies have not yet commented officially on the EU decision to shelve three strikes, though both sides concur on one thing: The battle is far from over.