Europe's Green Party has stepped into the battle about copyright and piracy, which increasingly affects comics publishing as comics are scanned as soon as they are published and re-distributed free online.
Last week, the French National Assembly adopted a modified version of controversial 'Hadopi' legislation against online copyright infringement. The approved 'Hadopi 2' law now sets out a simplified procedure with a single judge to examine the charges brought by the administrative agency which retains controversial aspects of the original proposal: harsh financial penalties and the option to withdraw Internet access - the latter also being mooted in the UK by the Labour government.
"We regret the French National Assembly's decision, which officially advocates the penalty of barring Internet access," commented Daniel Cohn-Bendit, President of the Greens/EFA group and Helga Truepel, Vice Chairman of the European Parliament's Culture Committee in a joint statement. "When the European Parliament voted on the EU telecoms package of legislation, we supported the maintenance of Amendment 138.
"We stand firm on our demand: there must be no withdrawal of an internet connection without a prior judicial decision. We remain opposed to the 'Hadopi' law, even in its modified form, because it still fails to provide for a fair trial and goes against the principle of presuming innocence."
The Greens are calling for copyright to protect cultural and creative content from being posted on the Internet against the will of its creators but argue the penalties foreseen in 'Hadopi 2' will do nothing to resolve the conflicting interests of different groups.
"We call for the development of a new copyright system that will respect the rights of artists, without curbing the potential of the Internet," stated Cohn-Bendit and Truepel. "Freedom of communication, the presumption of innocence and a meaningful role for the courts must not be compromised."
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