Platform responsibility? Get the backstory - check my book The Closing of the Net - only £15.99!

Innocent until proven guilty is a fundamental principle of European law. Until now. The new  French law on copyright enforcement  on the Internet reverse that principle, such that anyone accused of copyright infringement is expected to prove that they didn't. This is one of the 10 reasons to oppose the French law,  cited on the informatics website Numerama. The law will also censor legal content, because filtering of  P2P networks cannot be done in such a way that alleged illegal

content can be clearly separated from other content. Not all content downloaded on P2P networks is copyrighted entertainment - and it is that content which will be blocked - effectively, it will be censored.

Further, the law widens the data retention requirements for ISPs and creates a blacklist of users whose accounts have been terminated, without them having a proper right of reply. It would fall foul of the European Parliament vote on 9 April, where MEPs voted in fabour of an amendment that Member States should not take any action which would compromise human rights in respect of the Internet, such as cutting off people's access. 

The law (known as the Olivennes law, or by its correct name the 'HADOPI') is currently in draft form, and a full timetable for it to go through the legislature is expected in the next few days.

Numerama also has an economic argument against the law, claiming that it will cost the French State 31 million Euros per year. The cost will be accrued as a result of the adminsitrative overhead of sending out 10,000 warning messages each day.  Numerama calculates that for the State to recoup that money through VAT on online music sales, there would need to be 194 million legal downloads per year in France - which represents several multiples of the value of the French online music market at present. 

The Numerama article begs the question whether the cost of law - in terms of money and infringement of rights - will be worth the anticipated result.


States v the 'Net? 

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

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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

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

Don't miss Iptegrity!  RSS/ Bookmark 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.

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