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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'

A British court ruled that The Pirate Bay does infringe the copyright of UK rights-holders, in the first of a two-part case to get British ISPs to block the torrent tracker. The case was heard with only the rights-holders in the court. The ISPs had declined to attend. The operators of The Pirate Bay , of course, were not there either.

Read more: Inaudita altera parte - Pirate Bay block pre-empts ACTA

I find the case of USG v Richard O'Dwyer quite disturbing. It has hit the British media over the matter of extradition, and a weak agreement between Britain and the US. But having gone carefully through the judgement, I feel this is only part of the story. It looks to me like a cynical manoevre by the US copyright industries, notably the Motion Picture Association, which represents the powerful Hollywood studios. Mr O'Dwyer is a pathetic pawn in a much bigger game to get a legal precedent in the EU. My feeling is that this case could be leading up to ACTA (Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement) implementation.

Read more: United States government v Richard O'Dwyer: a political manoeuvre by Hollywood?

In a major landmark ruling today, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said that that ISPs may not be asked to filter Internet content for copyright enforcement purposes. The effect of the ruling will extend into every Member State, where courts are being asked to impose injunctions on ISPs and governments pressured to bring in filtering measures.

Read more: Sabam v Scarlet: Court rules that ISPs can't be asked to filter


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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

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review