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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’

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

A law suit by the Irish music industry against the country's major ISP has settled out of court, just two weeks into the proceedings. The settlement, whilst not great news for  Internet users, is better than it might have been.

 

The case concerns the Irish telecoms company and ISP,  Eircom, which was being sued by the four major music labels - EMI, Warner, Universal and Sony BMG - in the  High Court in  Dublin. The music companies were alleging that Eircom was liable for copyright infringement by Internet users accessing the ‘Net via the Eircom network. They wanted the court to order Eircom to implement network filtering measures to deal with the alleged copyright infringements.

 

The out of court settlement is reported on the website of Linx (London Internet Exchange). It is  understood that there has been  an agreement that Eircom will implement some form of 3-strikes or graduated response measures, and the music industry will

Read more: Eircom filtering case settles out of court

The Danish Telecommunications Association is to back an appeal in the Supreme Court against a ruling to block the Pirate Bay.

The ruling was made against the ISP Tele2 in February 2008, in a law suit that was filed by IFPI. Tele2 was ordered to block access to the Pirate Bay. The ruling  was upheld in a high court appeal in November 2008. According to a report in TorrentFreak , Tele2 has announced that it is  to appeal again in the Supreme court, with the industry support, because if the ruling stands, it might lead to  further blocking of Internet content.

This fear is supported by an IFPI press statement in which it says

Read more: Danish telecoms industry backs appeal against IFPI

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States v 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