Big tech accountability? Read how we got here in  The Closing of the Net 

A leaked document   which  is believed to be a US-led  Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement reveals proposals to punish downloaders to a greater extent than any existing proposals in the EU. The document details, for example, criminal sanctions for 'significant wilful infringements without motivation for financial gain'  - this would appear to mean that anyone downloading too many files could be branded a criminal, even if the files were only for personal use. That is considerably heavier than   the proposed EU legislation, already controversial, which would  criminalise only commmercial infringers. 

 The proposed new Trade Agreement was presented last October by US Trade Representative Susan Schwab, to representatives of the European Commission, Australia, Canada, Japan and other governments. It would also mandate proposals for ISPs  to police content at the behest of content companies, and would force them to divulge personal information identifying alleged infringers - on the basis of "effective notification of a claimed infringement". 

Not only is this  in breach of existing EU  data protection legislation, it would also appear to break a fundamental

principle of European law, to be innocent until proven guilty - and to put the law outside the realm of the courts and into the private hands of the content-owning companies.  Is this private security on the Internet? And does it support any interests except those companies whose balance-sheet assets consist of very large  content libraries?

I'd be happy if someone could provide a different interpretation. 

 The document appeared last Friday on the whistleblower website 'wikileaks' and is already causing consternation for the strength of its proposals.  


The FFII website is covering the details of the analysis of these proposals, and is ongoing work. 


Iptegrity in brief is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing.   I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. I am currently (from June 2022)  Policy Manager - Freedom of Expression, with the Open Rights Group. For more, see About Iptegrity is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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States v the 'Net? 

Read The Closing of the Net, by me, Monica Horten.

"original and valuable"  Times higher Education

" essential read for anyone interested in understanding the forces at play behind the web."

Find out more about the book here  The Closing of the Net


FROM £15.99

Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

In 2012, I presented my PhD research in the European Parliament.

The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review


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