Labour EuroMP Christine Oddy's proposed amendments to the EU's proposed directive on electronic commerce, have been welcomed by the European Internet Service Providers Association (EuroISPA) as easing 'caching'.
The association said it will, "undo damage caused by the vote on Copyright" made by the European Parliament last week when it voted to ban technical copying, or caching, of copyright material during telecomm and Internet transmission without the copyright holders permission.
The amendments would mean ISPs were not liable for content cached as part of their service. However, Socialist Group officials said the Oddy amendments did not amount to a 'u-turn' on caching by its members, who make up the parliament's largest group.
"There is no u-turn because we knew the electronic commerce directive was due for a reading," an official said. "The decison taken on copyright is a separate issue from electronic commerce. The amendments certainly do not represent a u-turn on the Internet caching decsion taken last week, despite what some EuroMPs may say."
Last week, Graham Watson, Liberal Democrat EuroMP for Somerset and North Devon, welcomed the Oddy report.
"While the common sense approach of the report is encouraging, I find it simply bizarre that Socialists voted in favour of banning caching last week and have now produced a report that Internet providers should not be held liable for content cached by their service," Watson said.
Oddy declined to enter the slanging match with her Liberal colleague over her report and amendments after the European Commission's proposed electronic commerce directive was discussed by the parliament's legal affairs committee this week.
"As I see it the electronic commerce directive will probably not override the copyright one. They are two free standing directives, but they should have been read together," she said.
A spokesman for EuroISPA said: "The Oddy report was an encouraging sign. We are looking at an extremely early stage. But Oddy's report on electronic commerce shows some awareness of the issues ISPs face."
"The decision on copyright resulted in restrictions so severe and it didn't define caching - I'm pretty sure that EuroMPs did not really know what they were doing. A definition of caching could undo some of the damage done in the vote on copyright," he said.
Oddy is also proposing an amendment to restrict the sending of unsolicited electronic mail. MEPs have until 16 March to file amendments before they vote on Oddy's report.
Source: VNU Newswire
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