Big tech accountability? Read how we got here in  The Closing of the Net 

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.

Iptegrity in brief is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing.   I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. I am currently (from June 2022)  Policy Manager - Freedom of Expression, with the Open Rights Group. For more, see About Iptegrity is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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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.

The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review


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