Are you concerned about British copyright politics & how rights-holders win influence? Then read 

A Copyright Masquerade: how corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

 'Tells a tale that needs to be heard'' Entertainment Law Review 'shows a great deal about how modern lobbying works' ZDNet

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After President Obama’s recent statement in support of a strong net neutrality law, many European citizens will be disappointed at the EU’s latest  position as the political battle for the Internet reprises.

 The EU's  net neutrality battle is starting up again after a few months' hiatus. It’s all happening around the Telecoms Regulation, that was adopted last March by the European Parliament with a ground-breaking provision to enshrine net neutrality into EU law. Naturally, the large telecoms corporations are up in arms against it, and now documents - seen by Iptegrity -  have emerged  from the Council of Ministers that reveal an attempt to erase it. And, the Council proposals will enshrine traffic management  as the principle for running the Internet.

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With copyright liability for cloud computing services hovering on the EU  horizon, what can we we learn from the case of ABC Inc v Aereo in the United States Supreme Court?

**My paper which updates this article -  The Aereo dilemma and copyright in the cloud' - has now been published by Internet Policy Review**

 A judgement handed down in the US Supreme Court today has underpinned the claim of a group of broadcast companies that royalties were due from a cloud-based service relaying copyrighted content. The ruling also raises a looming threat of new liabilities for the nascent cloud computing industry.

The case of ABC Inc et al vs Aereo Inc, concerned whether or not a cloud service transmitting

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***Breaking news *** 4 strikes deal *** Digital Economy Act without the backing of the law***

 A so-called ‘voluntary’ deal is close to being agreed in the UK between the Internet Service providers (ISPs) and the music and film industries for a system of notices to be sent to Internet users who are alleged to have downloaded copyright-protected material from non-licenced sources or ‘pirate- sites. This is the deal that Minister Ed Vaizey previewed in Parliament earlier this year, which he called VCAP –Voluntary Copyright Alert Proposals.

 Little is known yet about the deal, which was revealed  on (leaked to?) a BBC Radio news programme. The BBC is currently the sole source - I cannot find any other information  and the companies concerned have not put press releases online – however, it looks like they’ve tried to broker the Digital Economy Act without the backing of the law and without the involvement of Ofcom and scrapping the independent appeals body. Here’s what is known about it.

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'No' to content gatekeeping by ISPs.   A higher privacy barrier for copyright policing.

Two pieces of good news for the Internet have emerged from the EU in the past 7 days. They arise out of two entirely separate processes, but both indicate a mood of distaste for corporate control of the Internet. Last week, the European Parliament voted in favour of a net neutrality law; this week the European court of Justice ruled that a law on the collection of telephone and Internet metadata is invalid.

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The duel between the telecoms industry and  European citizens’ advocates  over net neutrality as the European Parliament prepares for a decisive  vote.  At stake is the very principle of net neutrality – will Europe be brave anough to enshrine it in law?

 At stake is the entire future of the Internet in Europe.  The telecoms operators have a plan that will totally disrupt the Internet as it stands, enabling them to charge both users and content owners provision of content services. Such charging would position the telecoms operators as the gatekeepers for content, and erode the public service nature of the Internet   – if they are allowed to get away with it. The outcome of tomorrow’s vote will be a determinant of what they can, or cannot, do.

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I was on the panel of a public debate hosted by LSE Media Policy Project on Monday 10 March 2014. The following text  is an edited version of my presentation.

My presentation  addressed the notion of  ‘freedoms’ in the event title.  The  specific topic – intermediary liability  for copyright enforcement - brings the the issue of ‘freedoms’  into sharp focus  because the proposed measures  asking ISPs and search engines to protect copyright online by blocking and removing content also present a threat to the Open Internet and potentially to free speech.  My focus  is not on  getting stuff for free, but on the potential for blocking of legitimate speech.

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Does the Internet belong to corporations or to citizens? Who runs it? Who owns it? Who decides what’s on it? Is it going to turn into a TV with a Facebook extra? All of this is at stake. It’s a vote being forced by the telecoms industry, to spike any chance of Europe getting a net neutrality law after the Euro-elections.  If this vote is lost, what can be done to save the Internet?

On Tuesday morning, the European Parliament will take a strategic vote for the future of the Internet as we know it. The law that is being voted on is the propsed new Telecoms REgulation, also known as the Regulation on a European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent. Inside the Parliament, the net neutrality issue is clearly the subject of a massive political fight, with over

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Part 3 of a series of 3 postings on the leaked EU TTIP discussion document

 It has emerged that the rules that  protect Internet service providers and hosting companies from content  liability are being tabled for discussion in talks about the proposed  EU –EU trade deal (TTIP) . The proposal was revealed in a leaked European Commission document published recently by the German newspaper Die Zeit. Since any move by the EU to on intermediary liability legislation will be highly constroversial, it is interesting that the Commission is putting it forward for TTIP talks.

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Part 2 of a series of 3 postings on the leaked EU TTIP discussion document

 Just as the European Parliament is about to vote on  new data protection rules, TTIP touches on another aspect of privacy.

Has a discussion on communications traffic data slipped into the EU-US trade talks (TTIP)? It seems as though it might have done. Iptegrity previously reported on the re-work of telecoms law  that is signalled by a series of provisions in a European Commission document  that is to form the basis of discussion at the TTIP talks. Within that context, the issue has slipped in via a back door.

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Part 1 of a series of 3 postings on the leaked EU TTIP discussion document

 The European Union could give away  unlimited rights to foreign telecoms companies to buy up rivals in Europe as part of the proposed new transatlantic trade deal  (TTIP).  This is one of an astonishing set of proposals revealed in a  Commission document leaked by the German newspaper Die Zeit last week.  The leaked document further indicates  a possible re-write of the EU telecoms framework, outlining  a ‘mini’ version of the EU Telecoms Package for discussion.  

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A back-room political compromise on net neutrality  that is  being quiety negotiated in the European Parliament  is currently sitting on a knife-edge. It is the only element of the Telecoms Regulation (Connected Continent) that has not been agreed between the different party groups (as previously predicted by Iptegrity).  The Committee vote is on Monday.

 The big  stakes are  whether  a telco-led agenda  for  priorised Internet services  will be permitted. This agenda will also have serious implications for ordinary telephone services and how television is delivered. In addition, there are issues surrounding Neelie Kroes flagship anti-discrimination clause.

***Update Tuesday 25 February - the vote has been postponed until 10  March.***

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Iptegrity resumes

I am resuming Iptegrity after a long break  - the first I had in  7 years of writing this blog. I extended my time out after I sprained my wrist in August, when  I had a little  brush with carpal tunnel syndrome. It has been worth the patience to let it heal, and I'd recommend to all my readers to look after your wrists, and do listen to ergonomic advice.

I am also working on a new book - updates on progress will appear here over the coming months.

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten,  policy writer 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 is read by lawyers, academics, policy-makers and citizens, and cited in the media. Please acknowledge Iptegrity when you cite or link.  For more, see IP politics with integrity

A top IP law book!

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review

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