But the really bad news for bloggers is in Article 10: Jurisdiction (I will publish the whole document, but I need to get some clearance first). [Emphasis mine.]Article 10
- Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to establish its jurisdiction with regard to the conduct referred to in Articles 1 and 2 where the conduct has been committed:
- (a) in whole or in part within its territory; or
- (b) by one of its nationals; or
- (c) for the benefit of a legal person [i.e. a company, charity, etc—DK] that has its head office in the territory of that Member State.
- When establishing jurisdiction in accordance with paragraph 1(a), each Member State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that its jurisdiction extends to cases where the conduct is committed through an information system and:
- (a) the offender commits the conduct when physically present in its territory, whether or not the conduct involves material hosted on an information system in its territory;
- (b) the conduct involves material hosted on an information system in its territory, whether or not the offender commits the conduct when physically present in its territory.
That's right, a blog is "an information system" and it doesn't matter where it's hosted; you can still go to gaol.
From that point on, it was obvious that blogs (and other content management systems) had come to the attention of our EU masters. And, as Dan Hannan points out, we bloggers are very much not inclined to be pro-Le Grand Projet. Something, therefore, must be done: governments and almost all of the established media are happy to toe the EU line (yes, they are. Some may stage a minor revolt but they are more intent on hiding the true extent of Brussels' reach).
Eurocrats are especially upset because many bloggers, being of an anarchic disposition, are anti-Brussels. In the French, Dutch and Irish referendums, the MSM were uniformly pro-treaty, whereas internet activity was overwhelmingly sceptical.
Indeed. And, of course, there can be no dissent from the great plan, eh?
Bruno Waterfield recently reported on a secret Commission report about the danger posed by online libertarians: "Apart from official websites, the internet has largely been a space left to anti-European feeling. Given the ability to reach an audience at a much lower cost, and given the simplicity of the No campaign messages, it has proven to be easily malleable during the campaign and pre-campaign period."
The EU's solution? Why, to regulate blogs! Back in June (hat tip, EU Referendum), MEPs began to complain that unlicensed blogs were "polluting" cyberspace with "misinformation and malicious intent". They wanted "a quality mark, a disclosure of who is writing and why".
Indeed they did, and your humble Devil commented on it at the time. Rather unusually, I did try to write a somewhat measured article, citing Jon Worth's calm warning that it was a toothless piece of legislation... well... it was not even legislation.
Get a grip folks. What’s the first thing to do when someone in the EP sounds off? Look at what sort of document we’re talking about… In this case it’s an EP resolution - you can find the original report and a list of amendments here. It’s not legislation (i.e. not a Directive or a Regulation). It’s only a little bit more formal than an EDM in Westminster...
But Master Hannan continues...
At the time, I dismissed it as the ramblings of a single dotty MEP. Not even the European Parliament, I thought, would actually try to censor the internet. I was wrong. We now have the full report and, sure enough, it wants to "clarify the status, legal or otherwise, of weblogs", and to ensure their "voluntary labelling according to the professional and financial responsibilities and interests of their authors and publishers".
Ah, yes; the old voluntary ploy. It's a good one because, you see, who could possibly object to voluntary labelling apart from those who are up to no good, eh? And for them, of course, it will become compulsory. And who could possibly object to bad people having to declare who they are?
If all else fails, the politicos could just mention that these people who object to being labelled and regulated might be paedophiles and won't someone think of the chiiiiiiiiiiildreeeeeeen?
With a glorious lack of self-awareness, the Euro-MPs behind the report elaborate their motives: "The report points out that the undetermined and unindicated status of authors and publishers of weblogs causes uncertainties regarding impartiality, reliability, source protection, applicability of ethical codes and the assignment of liability in the event of lawsuits. It recommends clarification of the legal status of different categories of weblog authors and publishers as well as disclosure of interests and voluntary labelling of weblogs."
I'll repeat what I have said whenever the subject of blog regulation has come up: shut up, fuck off and die, you hideous bunch of cunts.
Once again, Jon Worth is sounding a forlorn note of caution...
Back in June there was a lot of debate on numerous blogs about a draft European Parliament Resolution by Estonian Socialist Marianne Mikko. The original draft contained some rather strong paragraphs about placing legal restrictions on blogs but, after all, the initial draft - as I argued at the time - was probably the misguided view of one MEP, and that some MEPs had proposed sensible amendments.
Now Mikko has taken on board some of the amendments from MEPs in the Culture Commitee and a new draft has been produced, the version that will probably be the basis for a vote. Why is this any worse than what we had? Well, Daniel Hannan calls Mikko’s document the ‘full report’ - correct. But the document would still only be a resolution, it’s not a regulation or a directive. EU Referendum does not seem to understand that this document still will not have legal force - it’s the EP equivalent of an early day motion.
I can't help thinking, however, that whilst Jon might consider his analysis "careful", that there is a rather large element of self-denial in his piece. We have seen him dismiss the measures as the wild ravings of a sole MEP; now we see these same measures incoroporated into a full report; in time, the report will be voted on and... well, what then? Jon maintains that this vote "will not have legal force"—but then what is the point on voting on something if there are going to be no legal repercussions?
Are they simply dicking about, or will the passing of the vote give a green light to the Commission drawing up legislation? After all, if the majority of the European Parliament vote in favour of regulating blogs, then regulating blogs must be the will of the people, right? And the EU exists to serve its somewhat perverted view of what it believes the will of the people is.
I look forward to seeing the first Framework for the Regulation of Weblogs from the Commission, and to Jon dismissing it as something that has no legal force. And then, as the laws are passed, Jon adopting the attitude that only those with something to hide have something to fear.
And then, as the UK state implements the Directive, I look forward to Jon arguning that the UK government has gold-plated the legislation and that the EUI really isn't responsible.
I hope that I'm wrong about the progression of events, but I bet that I'm not.
So, now as previously, the EU does not have a hope of controlling blogging the way that Mikko’s report advocates. If that were to even be a danger you would see an enormous lobbying effort from Member States...
Well, they might lobby in favour of the legislation, yes. After all, various advisors close to the Labour government have proposed not dissimilar measures. And blogs are a thorn in the side of the government, as NuLabour have found. And, much as they are revelling in that now, I bet that the attitude of the Tories will change once they are in power. Cameron and his merry band probably imagine that they will get an easy ride from the blogosphere that they apparently domainate: they are in for a nasty surprise—the Left are beginning to fight dirty and the libertarians are certainly not about to stop kicking the government.
Let me make it clear - I don’t want this legislation either, but let’s not get carried away.
Well, I hope that you are right, Jon, I really do. But I am pretty confident that the course of events will be rather more similar to that which I outlined above. In which case, as Dan Hannan wrote in an email to me...
You'll be first in line, Devil. You tick all their boxes: libertarian, anonymous, anti-Brussels, popular.
I suspect that Dan is entirely correct. But, in the meantime—just so that The Kitchen's loyal readers and our right royal leaders know where I stand—the EU can go fuck itself, the stinking, whore's cunt of an organisation that it is.
Fuck off and die, you evil fucking cunts.