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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’

A court ruling in favour of eBay last week in the UK High Court puts the IPR Enforcement directive, known as IPRED, to the  test. The case, brought by cosmetics firm L'Oreal,  is likely to go to the European Court for a further ruling.

 

The complaint brought by L'Oreal concerned  sales of alleged counterfeit goods on the eBay online auction site. The judge ruled that eBay is not liable for infringements by eBay users, and that was the headline in most of the media coverage. However, reading the judgement, it is evident that there are other issues at stake here.

 

In particular, the L'Oreal case rests on Article 11 of the IPR Enforcement directive. This says, in plain English,  that

Read more: L'Oreal v eBay judgement puts IPRED to the test

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'

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States v the 'Net? 

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

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" 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