A Copyright Masquerade - relevant to law & trade agreements in Europe, the US & Australia


Reads like a legal thriller!

The 2009 Telecoms Package & copyright


A highly-respected German website is to be investigated for treason after publishing leaked documents relating to  mass Internet surveillance.

 The German Internet policy website,  Netzpolitik.org, has been put on notice for  treason after it published two articles revealing government plans to expand intelligence capabilities for Internet surveillance. The website received the notice yesterday from the German attorney general,  following a complaint from the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz – this is the  internal intelligence service,  the German equivalent of MI5. The matter has sparked a media storm over freedom of the press, in a country where Internet surveillance issues are household knowledge.


We fixed net neutrality -  says who?

 EU officials are claiming to have ‘fixed’ net neutrality after a late night session to thrash out a deal on telecoms. From what can be ascertained, the deal gets rid of roaming charges on mobile phones, in return for the network operators – fixed and mobile – being allowed to do preferential deals over content inside bandwidth caps – so-called  zero-rating.  The EU has been wanting to abolish roaming charges for some time, against resistance from the network operators, who would lose revenue. It  seems that zero-rating is the political quid pro quo, and if it is so, then we are witnessing a clever piece of smoke and mirrors.


International talks on a secret deal over trade in services threaten to overturn to net neutrality policies currently on the table on both sides of the Atlantic.  Instead, back-room negotiators could put in place an international framework that leaves the door open for restrictive behaviour by the telecommunications companies that run the Internet.


On the same day as the Queen’s Speech on 27 May, a  private members’ Bill was introduced to Parliament  that provides for wide-scale content filtering by network providers and device manufacturers.  Whilst the headline objective is to remove ‘adult’ content from the Internet, the Bill opens the door to  a much broader interpretation and in that regard, poses serious risks to freedom of expression.  If adopted, the proposed regime would  be implemented and overseen by private companies, outsourcing the government’s duties to corporate actors. It may never get on the Statute, but it does signal attempts by lobbying communities to pressure the government.


The European Commission announced today  radical plans to overhaul copyright. The proposals  focus on users’ability to legally access copyrighted content across borders, and they are understood to have upset the entertainment and music industries. This  is not surprising since the changes will cut right through their copyright-supported distribution infrastructure.

The main plank for change will be the territoriality of copyright. Territoriality refers to the way that the entertainment industries are organised around national borders for the granting of rights and the distribution and  sale of goods. On the Internet, this system is  managed by asking intermediaries to block content that is not


Widely leaked since before Xmas. The biggest open secret in Brussels. What are we to make of  the new  EU plans for the Internet, presented today as  the Digital Single Market policy?  An analysis  exposes  a few hidden issues.

 Today the European Union  announced a wide ranging plan to tackle the Internet.  Top of its action list is a phenomenon that is becoming known as


27 March 2015.
I was delighted to be invited by the Council of Europe to give a lecture at the University of Podgorica, MonteNegro. The lecture was one in a series of lectures arranged in collaboration between the University and the Council of Europe. My presentation was entitled: Online media – CoE standards, copyright & use of social media by journalists. It was an amazing experience to have my words translated into  Montenegrin and to give the lecture with simulatneous translation. I'd like to thank the students for being a wonderful audience, the translator for her patience, and the organisers at the University for doing such a great job. It was my first trip to Podgorica and indeed, my first time in the Balkans, and I have to say that I was made to feel very welcome. 

This year is the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the Great Charter that established the right to a fair trial and  put an end to arbitrary justice in private hands. What, you may ask, does this have to do with technology policy for the 21st century? It’s a strange twist of fate that this year, in Britain, we face calls for private companies to take on the role of  (secret) police-man, judge and censor all wrapped up in one.


After much anticipation, the EU Council of Ministers released its  net neutrality mandate last week.  The announcement follows some  highly political back-room  wrangling, which has resulted in a text – seen by Iptegrity -  that  creates some very murky waters around Internet fast lanes, filtering and specialised services. The Council now goes into the so-called ‘trilogue’  talks with the European Parliament, and the prospect of a political battle looms.


Yesterday’s  net neutrality announcement by the FCC  was a Red Letter day for Internet freedom in the US. How will  the European Union react ?  

The United States telecoms regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, yesterday confirmed its policy direction in favour of net neutrality. It has ordered that broadband providers are to come under the common carriage regulation, which means they must neither prevent nor favour traffic, but take all on an equal basis.  The  FCC’s message is simple and clear: no blocking, no throttling, no fast lanes. The rule applies equally to mobile and fixed network providers. Meanwhile, in the deep, non-enlightened corridors of Brussels,  the EU is threatening measures that would embed exactly


Following the astonishing decision last week by the US Federal Communications Commission on protecting the open Internet - no blocking, no fast lanes, no throttling - the European Parliament today begins the political defence of  net neutrality on this side of the Atlantic. At around midday today, the Parliament will take a


Opt-outs for self-regulatory filtering and FacebookZero plans? Is this really net neutrality?

 The Council of Ministers is to focus on net neutrality and roaming and throw out the remaining provisions in the EU Telecoms Regulation. It’s aiming for an agreement by March, so that it can open negotiations with the European Parliament. Unfortunately for those who may be hoping for a net neutrality law in Europe, the discussions are going the wrong way, with a number of get-outs being proposed to help those  governments that want to permit their Internet providers to block,  filter or favour.


UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will put  communications data at the top of his list for  new laws after the May 7 general election. Assuming  he is re-elected, he wants to extend the range of data that would be legally accessible to  the police and intelligence services, on a scale thus far unprecedented.  His proposals, justified on the basis of an increased terror threat,  will also up the ante in terms of the technology companies that will be obligated to comply.  The concern is that Mr Cameron’s implied multi-dimensional data retention requirement will also create an apparatus that, without sufficient safeguards and in the wrong hands, will result in  a vastly disproportionate, over-arching and unacceptable violation of  personal privacy.


   See my updated       LinkedIn profile

Don't miss Iptegrity! Iptegrity.com  RSS/ Bookmark      

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten, European expert on Internet policy and Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. She is an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on Cross-border flow of Internet traffic and Internet freedom (MSI-INT). She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012. Iptegrity  offers expert insights into Internet policy. Iptegrity has a core readership in the Brussels policy community, and has been cited in the media. Please acknowledge Iptegrity when you cite or link.  For more, see IP politics with integrity

Get my book on the copyright lobbies!

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review

Paperback and Kindle and Epub formats.

Available at the following online stores or get it from the publisher Zed Books  direct:

Amazon France

Amazon Germany

Amazon Italy

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Waterstones Online UK

The Guardian Bookshop

Librerias Marcial Pons Spain 

Librarie Europeene / The European Bookshop, Brussels

Orell Füssli, Zurich, Switzerland

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

Contact  me to use  iptegrity content for commercial purposes