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Internet Trials

The policy debate doesn't always happen within the official policy fora such as European Commission consultations, or Parliamentary committees. Especially when it comes to the Internet and online content. Certain interest groups take it into other venues. The courts are being called on the interpret the law, and the caselaw is used by courts all around Europe in the context of their judgments. This section looks at instances of legal action against Internet providers by private interest groups, or actions by Member States who are implementing laws and initiatives. Iptegrity's concern, as ever, is the protection of the open Internet and free speech. In the courts, this will be addressed in the context of the right to freedom of expression or privacy.


If you are interested in copyright caselaw you may like my book The Closing of the Net which discusses the UK copyright blocking judgments and the Megaupload case in New Zealand.

If you are interested in copyright policy, you may like my previous books A Copyright Masquerade: How Corporate Lobbying Threatens Online Freedoms and The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the 'Telecoms Package'

Pirate Bay defendants to go to jail and pay $3.5 million damages. Guilty of secondary liability for providing a search service. Intent more important than technical fact.

 

The  four men who founded The  Pirate Bay bit- torrent tracking site  have been found guilty  of "promoting other people's infringement of copyright laws," However, they have not violated copyright law, as is misleadingly reported in some media. Effectively, they have been judged guilty of  secondary liability for copyright infringement, and its implications could be serious for many other web services providers. The issue now is whether it would seem to set a precedent that  by providing a 

Read more: Pirate Bay jailed for secondary liabilty

Defence argues 'completely legal'. Prosecutor calls for jail sentences. The Pirate Bay hearing concludes - verdict awaited 17 April.

The trial of the four founders of the Pirate Bay by the Stockholm District Court, has concluded, and the judgement is expected on 17 April.

On the final day of the trial, the defence lawyer for the Pirate Bay founders argued that the torrent tracking technology used by the Pirate Bay is perfectly legal, and that is provides a passive search function - he said,   it is the site's users, not its owners, who decide what content is tracked. He said that it has not been established in the court  that the bulk of the material tracked by the site is copyrighted not that it has been exploited commercially, and that it has not been shown that the sites owners made any money from it. 

As I understand it, the commercial exploitation of copyrighted material is  a key test in the case, as is the editorial authority over the site content.

 

In light of the European Parliament's Medina report,

Read more: Pirate Bay - defence claims 'completely legal'

IFPI chairman admits he is 'very vague'' about  technical issues, but has spent £75 million  on  fighting file-sharers. IFPI's evidence collector  couldn't verify if the Pirate Bay tracker was used.  A prosecution witness has no evidence that most material on the Pirate Bay is copyrighted.

 

 

The trial of the four Pirate Bay founders in Sweden has been underway since 16th February.  In the context of the copyright enforcement debate, the Medina report and the EU Telecoms Package, the reports of the trial make interesting reading.

The prosecution are seeking to prove two things. One that the Pirate Bay is liable for copyright infringement - secondary liability. Two,  that the four founders are making money from it - therefore they are a commercial operation and can be sued under criminal law, which, as I understand it, is the basis for the trial.

Of interest in respect of the European Parliament's Medina report,  it has been clearly stated in the court that it iis not the file-sharing  technology which is on trial, but the  way it has - or has not -  been used in this particular instance.

A lot will depend  on the definition of a bit torrent tracker. This is the technology on which the Pirate Bay is based. It is not the same as an ordinary website. The question is, is it a search engine, a bulletin board, or a service provider/intermediary? The prosecution argue that it is

Read more: Pirate Bay trial: IFPI evidence called into question

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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor: online safety, technology and human rights. In April 2024, I was appointed as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on online safety and empowerment of content creators and users. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for non-commercial use. Please link back and attribute Dr Monica Horten.  Contact me to use any of my content for commercial purposes.  

The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

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