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

 The European Commission  has confirmed that is is looking at a  Europe-wide approach to intellectual property enforcement on the Internet. In light of its  ACTA defeat, the Commission  is being deliberately ambiguous as to the nature of the measures under consideration. But could it mean pan-European web blocks?

 The new EU position has emerged just as a public consultation has closed. In an opaque ‘road map’ for enforcement policy, the European Commission has indicated that cross-border  enforcement has  been highlighted in responses from external organisations. The Commission clarifies that  ‘cross-border’ enforcement is linked in its mind to  the Internet,   which has no borders. 

 Although that may seem illogical, in Commission-speak it means that the Internet  carries intangible goods and services across borders, and therefore enforcing protection of intellectual property at any given geographic border, is not possible.

In other words,  the Commission is  trying to say that all European countries should have the same IPR enforcement measures, implemented in the same way.

That is exactly what the copyright industries want. And, if it were any other industry, it might seem completely logical.

 Of course, this is copyright and in that context, a consistent implementation of IPR  enforcement measures might well mean EU-wide 3 strikes measures. Or some kind of the pan-European web blocking.

 The roadmap hints at ‘fast track procedures’.  Fast-track measures  could include blocking  injunctions that can be obtained quickly, without a long court process.

There is an indication that such fast-tracking could be presented as a way to help out small to medium size businesses (SMEs).  The paradox is that fast tracking will be a great help to large corporate businesses, who want to sue lots of small infringers.

 Fast tracking will be of little help to small businesses who have been harmed by  large corporates for infringing or stealing their designs. A friend of mine  is trying to take legal action in just such a case. She already has a lawyer’s bill of many thousands of pounds, and no fast-track service would help her.

 The European Commission is only too aware of the incentiary nature of such cross-border, fast-track  proposals, and seems to be saying nothing more  for the moment.

The timing for the IPR roadmap is unclear. The Commission has to go through all the responses in detail before it make any further statements. Given the length of the questionnaire, that may take some time.

 Ultimately, the outcome will be determined by the internal politics. The Commission has already said that legislative proposals are not expected until next year.  (See EU puts IPR enforcement on the back burner). We may see various  ideas floated, and there will be ongoing consultations. But I still think there is a fair chance that any serious legislation  will be pushed to   the other side of the European elections.

 More comment here from La Quadrature du Net

 This is an original article from Iptegrity.com and reflects research that I have carried out. If you refer to it or to its content,  please cite my name as the  author, and provide a link back to iptegrity.com.  Media and Academics – please cite as Monica Horten, EU puts fast-track IPR enforcement on the map ,  22  April 2013,  in www.iptegrity.com.  Commercial users - please contact me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Copyright Enforcement Enigma tells the story of the 2009 Telecoms Package and how the copyright industries tried to hijack it.

'accurate and absorbing account of the story of the Telecoms Package' -Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology

'...a must read for those interested in knowing in depth about copyright enforcement and Internet.' -Journal of Intellectual Property Rights.  

Read more  

Ask your library to get it!

Order direct from the publisher.

Go to   Amazon

Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

European Parliament launch for Copyright Enforcement Enigma

Don't miss Iptegrity! Iptegrity.com  RSS/ Bookmark      

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten, European expert on Internet policy and Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. She is an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on Cross-border flow of Internet traffic and Internet freedom (MSI-INT). She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012. Iptegrity  offers expert insights into Internet policy. 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

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

Contact  me to use  iptegrity content for commercial purposes