The Closing of the Net  "original and valuable"  Times Higher Education

The G8 Deauville Declaration is positioned as ‘ A new step for liberty and democracy'. But whose liberty?


Last week's  inter-governmental summit of the heads of the so-called G8 group of nations took place in the fresh air of the French seaside resort of Deauville. But the sea air does not appear to have had a beneficial effect on  final communiqué, which  incorporates a call for stronger enforcement of intellectual property online.

The call is positioned as an economic priority for governments worldwide, and it is a coded demand for 3-strikes and website blocking.

The  so-called Deauville Declaration, in the context of 'a new step for liberty and democracy' wants to see  national frameworks to improve ‘respect' for

IPR incorporated in legislation, notably "procedures permitting the prevention of actual or future infringements".  It calls for the ‘co-operation'  of all political actors involved,   working with the private sector.


The Internet section of the Deauville Declaration  was drafted at the eG8 meeting,  convened by President Sarkozy as a precedent to the main G8 economic summit, and, according to a New York Times report ,  the Communique text was prepared in advance of the summit with Sarkozy's agenda as  the top priority.


The dangerous move which has been  slipped in  is the expansion of the possibilities for such legislation. Whereas until now the ‘respect for IP' generally refers to copyright only, the Deauville Declaration expands it to all areas of intellectual property. It includes copyright, trade marks, commercial secrets and patents.


In the EU context,  this will have implications because it implies changes to the EU acquis communitaire. It is  trying to expand enforcement measures  by the back door.


The important language is this (translated from the original French by me):


"It is why we are renewing our effort to take firm measures against violations of intellectual property rights, especially measures which will enable the prevention of actual or future infringements."


Firm  measures for the prevention of infringements can only imply either the blocking of websites, services and applications, or the blocking of user - ie 3-strikes. 

Further threats of web blocking are incorporated in supplementary calls to address the  exploitation of children, and protect children who are using the Internet; and to  deal with network  secrity.

 Moreover, as La Quadrature du Net points out,  the communiqué does not include any substantial proposal about the importance of net neutrality, or how governments around the world will  silence or jail  bloggers".


It is all couched in  the positive objective of creating a blossoming digital economy  - oh, and protection of liberty and democracy. But the question is, whose liberty is it protecting?


The Deauville Declaration regarding Internet and IP enforcement - original l text (in French): 

 S'agissant de la protection de la propriété intellectuelle, en particulier des droits d'auteur, des marques  déposées, des secrets commerciaux et des brevets, nous reconnaissons que nous devons mettre en place des  législations et des cadres nationaux pour en améliorer le respect. C'est pourquoi nous renouvelons notre  engagement à prendre des mesures fermes contre les violations des droits de propriété intellectuelle dans  l'espace numérique, notamment par des procédures permettant d'empêcher les infractions actuelles et futures.  Nous reconnaissons que l'application effective des règles en matière de propriété intellectuelle nécessite une  coopération internationale appropriée entre les acteurs concernés, associant le secteur privé. Nous sommes   déterminés à trouver les moyens de faciliter un meilleur accès et une plus grande ouverture à la connaissance, à   l'éducation et à la culture, notamment en encourageant l'innovation dans le commerce en ligne de biens et de contenus, dans le respect des droits de propriété intellectuelle.


Please attribute this article is: Monica Horten (2011) G8 Deauville Declaration - Sarkozy's web of threats 30  May 2011 .  

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed.








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