I have written another briefing paper on the Telecoms package. Called Packaging up copyright enforcement - how the Telecoms Package slots in the framework for a European policy to restrict Internet content, the paper discusses the mechanisms that could be used to bring in a policy of copyright enforcement and how the Telecoms Package lays the foundation for it. The paper argues that it is a clear intent of the legislation that national regulators will be asked to promote a policy where ISPs have towork with rights-holders to enforce copyright, and limit users rights of access to content, services and applications. The pressure on ISPs comes via the liability that it will place on them to protect copyrighted content. The exact ways that it could be implemented will depend on the final text (which is not yet determined) and on the interpretations given to it by member states and the lawyers for the rights-holder and Internet industries.
And in an environment where Internet Service Providers and network operators may face increasing liability for content, the paper argues that regulatory safeguards are needed to ensure the protection of user's rights on the Internet.
You can read it here. You are free to use it or quote from it, provided you attribute it to the author.
Explaining liability Something that is not in the paper, but may be helpful here, is to understand what liability means in real life.
I will use an example from a different sphere altogether, that of risk sports, and choose a sport that I know well, which is horse-riding. I believe the situation I am describing is similar for other risk sports such as sailing. Horses are unpredictable animals and the risk of a rider falling off, has been there forever. But in recent times, horse-riding establishments are increasingly faced with law suits when a rider falls off and is injured. One direct result is that their insurance has increased, along with their liability. In a nutshell, the result of the increase in liability is that either it is more expensive to ride (they pass the cost on to the customer), or there is less choice of riding establishments (because the increased costs have forced many to close), or there are more restrictions on what the riders can do (no galloping, no jumping, just walk and trot in a very safe but less fun way, only under supervision and wearing body protectors).
Now transpose higher costs, less choice, more restrictions into the Internet environment...
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