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

My paper which discusses  the case of ABC Inc v Aereo in the United States Supreme Court - The Aereo dilemma and copyright in the cloud' - has  been published by Internet Policy Review

Quick summary: The case of ABC Inc et al vs Aereo Inc concerned whether or not a cloud service transmitting broadcast television to computer users over the Internet infringes copyright law. In brief, the Supreme Court ruling means that it does, but it is in the detail of the ruling that the cloud liability is implied.

Abstract: Aereo is a cloud-based startup company that offers people the possibility to watch live (or nearly live) television on computing devices and smartphones. It was sued by the major US broadcasters for copyright liability and the case went to the Supreme Court where Aereo lost. It encapsulates a dilemma facing courts in the US and EU – that a ruling to shut down Aereo, on the basis that it is unlawful under copyright law, could threaten innovation in areas such as the cloud. The Aereo case turned on a narrow point of US copyright law, which this paper discusses. The core issue for this paper was to analyse the legal dispute between Aereo and the broadcasters as documented in the court papers, including transcripts of the hearing, and submissions in support of both parties. A key finding was that the technical design and characterisation of the service lay at the heart of the argument over copyright. The US courts deliberated at length as whether Aereo is more like a cable TV company, or is it merely an equipment provider, providing a digital video recorder in the cloud. The paper discusses whether technical design matters or whether the substantive effect could be the determining factor. The paper then broadens the perspective to examine the position of cloud service providers. It does so in general terms, using amicus curiae briefs and other documentation from the US court case, before concluding with a consideration of the EU position. An important finding is that the complexities of content acquisition, transmission and format-shifting will generate considerable legal uncertainty.

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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.

Iptegrity in brief

 

Iptegrity.com 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 am on the Advisory Council of the Open Rights Group.  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. For more, see About Iptegrity

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