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Internet Trials

The policy debate doesn't always happen within the official policy fora such as  European Commission consultations, or European Parliament 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’

As he headed off for the Norfolk mansion where he will live for the next few weeks under house arrest, Julian Assange morphed from an unknown, shadowy web entrepreneur into a cause cébre for the free media.  I use the term ‘media' here, rather than Internet, deliberately.

 The reason that the world's media is so keen to flash cameras in his face at a level more usually reserved for a Royal Engagement, is that Assange's eventual fate will also determine the rights of publishers and journalists online.

 At stake in this case is free speech, the right to access and distribute information. If Assange is eventually indicted on whatever offence the US government can cook up, it will herald more restrictions on the Internet and a curb of free speech as yet unknown in western liberal democracies.

 His conviction would put all online media - especially those involved in political reporting - at risk.  The risk would extend from mainstream broadcasters to individual bloggers. How can any media call governments to account, when they could be personally and financially threatened, by the State and by its corporate henchmen?

 

Julian Assange,  founder of the Wikileaks website, was released from prison on bail today. But  he remains under house arrest in a the Norfolk mansion where he offered to stay whilst awaiting his trial for extradition to Sweden. And a number of matters remain unclear.

 

The court hearing today was an appeal against his bail, and there is still confusion about which government - British or

Read more: Julian Assange - cause célèbre for a free media

Julian Assange gets the cream of UK lawyers for his legal defence. But it is a strange twist of fate that on the same day as he is slung into the company of Britain's hardened criminals, he wins the support of the banking heiress, Jemima Khan.

 

The top human rights lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson, known for his work on freedom of speech matters, is to defend Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange when he next comes to court. Robertson will complement Assange's legal team which already consists of the crème de la crème of British lawyers. His solicitor, Mark Stephens, is well known for his work in difficult and controversial human rights cases.

 

Assange's appearance in a London court yesterday sparked an astonishing media s scrum usually reserved for royalty and pop stars, and certainly not ever previously known for any Internet entrepreneur. But what was especially striking is that a number of

Read more: Wikileaks: Banking heiress joins top lawyers in Assange defence

An Irish judge today handed down a judgement which ruled out 3-strikes measures and the blocking of websites for copyright enforcement purposes - at least under current Irish law. The rules contradicts the previous eircom ruling which permitted 3-strikes.

However, it was not all good news - the judge sympathised with the music industry who brought the case

 

The case concerned the Irish Internet service provider (ISP)  known as UPC, who was being sued in the High court by the Irish recorded music industry - EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner. The music industry were asking for an injunction against UPC which would force it to ‘stop this infringing activity' on its network. |

 

They asked for the network provider to be made liable for the copyright infringement taking place on its network. The methods requested

Read more: EMI v UPC: Irish judge rules out 3-strikes and web blocking

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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." ITSecurity.co.uk

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

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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

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

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Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. She is a policy analyst specialising in Internet governance & European policy, including platform accountability. She is a published author & Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. She served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on  Internet Freedom. She has worked on CoE, EU and UNDP funded projects in eastern Europe and the Caucasus. In a voluntary capacity, she has led UK citizen delegations to the European Parliament. She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012.

Iptegrity  offers expert insights into Internet policy (and related issues on Brexit). 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

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The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review