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Policy matters

Policy does matter. We may think that the Internet is a free digital environment, where no laws apply but there are many cases which contradict this notion.

In this section of Iptegrity.com, I  report on EU policy related to the Internet and online content, in particular, where policy intiatives affect   access to film, music and television, and I highlight issues for the  policy debate in relation to the Internet.  For 2008-2009, copyright enforcement has been the hot topic, with net neutrality emerging as well, in 2009.   My focus is on the European Union and  its member states - for example,  I am currently covering Internet  policy - specifically copyright enforcement intiatives - in France and the UK.

I am most interested in the citizen's perspective. However, the issues I cover will affect the Internet and telecoms industries, as well as the media and entertainment industries.  

Iptegrity.com offers  original reporting from the EU, as well as comment and opinion on issues raised in other media, including non-English language media in Europe. Iptegrity.com is the main English-language news source for the Telecoms Package review of EU telecoms law.

Report on European Commission  High Level Conference on Counterfeiting and Piracy 13 May 2008

John Kennedy, chairman of the International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI), has accused the telcos and ISPs of filibustering and avoiding coming to the table to discuss co-operation measures with the music industry. His attack was delivered during an event organised by the European Commission to discuss policy issues related to online piracy and counterfeited goods.

 Mr Kennedy said that he first called on the ISPs at a conference organised by ETNO (European Telecommunications Network Operators Association)  in 2005, and "three years later, there has been little or no action from the

Read more: IFPI accuses telcos of filibustering

Four Irish music companies are  taking legal action against Eircom, the Irish telecommunciations operator, on the basis that it has not installed technology to filter and block content which they allege is infringing copyright and illegal. According to a report in the Irish Independent , the companies had asked Eircom to install filtering software made by the US vendor Audible Magic, and it has told them that it is not in a position to do so. The report states that the legal action consists of a request for a restraining order, which would prevent Eircom from making available copies of allegedly infringing material without the copyright owner's consent. 

 

It's interesting that they have chosen this route. Filtering of Internet content at the network level  is rife with legal difficulties, not least of which is the potential to infringe people's fundamental rights to access information, and to privacy. 

 

The companies are the Irish subsidiaries of the four music majors - Warner, EMI, Sony BMG and Universal. They are also member of the Irish Recorded Music Association, a member of the International Federation of Phonographic Industries or IFPI, which is dominated by the four majors.

 

MEPs are calling on the European Commission and on the French and British governments, not to adopt the "three strikes and you're out"  policies for ISPs. Christofer Fjellner and Michel Rocard, Guy Bono, Helga Trüpel, Francis Wurtz, Christa Prets and Katerina Batzeli  moved an amendment to the so-called Bono report,  asking for the Commission not to adopt policies for the Internet which are  disproportionate and  could infringe human and civic rights. They do not want Europe to adopt proposals for filtering and  blocking of Internet content and the imposition of sanctions on users such as cutting off Internet access.

 The move has no legislative importance but it could be important in positioning European policy on the Internet and ISPs.  The so-called "three strikes and you're out" proposal would mean that ISPs would be asked to warn, suspend and cut off users who were alleged to be infringing copyright rules. The proposal was mooted in France, by the "mission Olivennes", and is being considered by the UK government. 

The vote was on Wednesday April 9th and the amendment was accepted. 

In France, the vote has sparked a political spat between one of the amendment's sponsors, Michel Rocard, and the sponsoring minister, Christine Albanel.   Mme Albanel said, in an interview with

Read more: European Parliament anti-filtering vote

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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. I am a policy analyst specialising in Internet governance policy and European policy, such as platform accountability. I am a published author & Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. I served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on  Internet Freedom. I have worked on CoE, EU and UNDP funded projects in eastern Europe and the Caucasus. In a voluntary capacity, I have led UK citizen delegations to the European Parliament.  I 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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