Illegal downloaders shouldn't be disconnected

The European parliament voted against a 'three strikes and out' system

Illegal downloaders have been given an unexpected fillip by the European parliament, which has voted in favour of an amendment that would make a ‘three strikes and out’ system to punish people an infringement against their human rights.

Although the UK’s government did not ratify any measures for punishing those who were transferring and receiving copyrighted material such as music or movies across the internet, it did suggest that the ISPs should take responsibility for the growing problem.

In France, the government has thrown its weight behind a three strikes and out system – two warnings for those using peer to peer (P2P) networks to download copyrighted material illegally followed by the suspension of internet access for a third offence.

Civil liberty

However, it now appears that any punishments of this ilk are not supported by the European parliament which voted (narrowly) in favour of an amendment that would make removing someone’s internet connection in this way an offence against their civil liberties.

The amendment "Calls on the Commission and the Member States to recognise that the Internet is a vast platform for cultural expression, access to knowledge, and democratic participation in European creativity, bringing generations together through the information society."

And therefore: "Calls on the Commission and the Member States to avoid adopting measures conflicting with civil liberties and human rights and with the principles of proportionality, effectiveness and dissuasiveness, such as the interruption of Internet access."

So, it’s official – you have a human right to be reading this.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.