Try, try again: How the OECD High-Level Meeting replayed the fight over the EU Telecoms Package

by Milton Mueller

4 July 2011

"This weekend I've been reading a pre-publication draft of a new book on the EU Telecom Package, entitled The Copyright Enforcement Enigma: Internet Politics and the EU Telecoms Package, by Monica Horten. It provides a detailed chronicle of how copyright interests tried - and failed - to revise European telecommunications law to make Internet access providers enforce copyrights for them. Reading this blow by blow account of the European Telecoms package, I was struck by a sense of deja vu. The same clash over the same principles regarding intermediary responsibility took place from 2007 - 2009. We saw battles over wording and the nuances of certain phrases ("co-operation," "lawful content") almost identical to what happened at the OECD this June. That debate pitted end users' fundamental rights to free expression, privacy and due process against an attempt to make copyright enforcement more efficient and pervasive by conscripting Internet service providers into the job of rights enforcement and user surveillance.

Both the governments and the businesses engaged in the OECD seem to have forgotten the outcome. So, aided by Dr. Horton, let me remind us all of that result."