Abstract: Courts have traditionally considered copyright to be immune to any external freedom of expression review, the tension between those rights having to be resolved through internal balancing mechanisms such as the idea/expression dichotomy or limitations and exceptions to the exclusive right. Two important rulings from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) rendered in 2013 clearly challenge this premise. One is the judgment against France in the Ashby Donald case, the other an admissibility decision in the Swedish ‘‘Pirate Bay’’ application. Both rulings held that the use of a copyrighted work can be considered as an exercise of the right to freedom of expression, even if the use qualifies as an infringement and is profit-motivated.
The right of every citizen to seek, receive and share information is protected both in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). As regards Latin American countries specifically, the American Convention on Human Rights lays down rules on censorship in Article 13. Similarly, the Tunis Agenda also recognizes these rights within the Information Society.
However, despite the fact that freedom of expression depends on the free flow of information, there is a tendency for national and regional laws to intervene in the end-to-end architecture of the Internet, prevent the free flow of information and thus undermine the rights of every citizen to freedom of expression and privacy. This context shows how utterly important it is to watch abusive Internet legislation worldwide. This is the intent of the book “Towards an Internet Free of Censorship”, published by CELE (Center for Research on Free Speech and Access to Knowledge), in which researchers Joana Varon Ferraz, Carlos Affonso Pereira de Souza, Bruno Magrani and Walter Britto participate with the chapter entitled “Content Filtering in Latin America: Reasons and Impacts on Freedom of Expression”.