Abstract: Since the enactment of the first safe harbours and liability exemptions for online intermediaries, market conditions have radically changed. Originally, intermediary liability exemptions were introduced to promote an emerging Internet market. Do safe harbours for online intermediaries still serve innovation? Should they be limited or expanded? These critical questions — often tainted by protectionist concerns — define the present intermediary liability conundrum.
Abstract: Following the publication of the Digital Single Market agenda, it became clear that establishing the place of online intermediaries in the regulatory framework for combating illicit content on the Internet remains one of the key challenges for European regulators. This article looks at the landscape of corresponding enforcement strategies within the European Union and unravels two competing conceptual approaches in relation to the role of online intermediaries.
[Anubha Sinha, CIS-India, Link (CC-BY)] The latest judgment in the matter of Super Cassettes v. Myspace is a landmark and progressive ruling, which strengthens the safe harbor immunity enjoyed by Internet intermediaries in India. It interprets the provisions of the IT Act, 2000 and the Copyright Act, 1957 to restore safe harbor immunity to intermediaries even in the case of copyright claims. It also relieves Myspace from pre-screening user-uploaded content, endeavouring to strike a balance between free speech and censorship. CIS was one of the intervenors in the case, and has been duly acknowledged in the judgment.
Excerpt from the Final Report of the Global commission on Internet Governance, Link (CC-BY-NC-ND)
… Content intermediaries are evolving institutions. As a result, government policy makers are struggling to understand these new roles and to determine whether and how to legislate or regulate new behaviours in this nascent and fast-changing industry. The situation is further complicated by the transnational reach of these intermediaries. The concept of Internet intermediary liability has emerged as a way to regulate or require the takedown of harmful or illegal content. Intermediary liability can be applied in a variety of contexts, including: copyright infringements, digital piracy, trademark disputes, network management, spamming and phishing, cybercrime, defamation, hate speech, child pornography, censorship or privacy protection.
This article is part of an IP-Watch and Infojustice.org series analyzing the Trans Pacific Partnership intellectual property provisions by leading experts around the world. The series will publish weekly through the first quarter of 2016.
Section J of the TPP’s IP chapter, on ISP safe harbors, looks a lot like Section 512 of the DMCA, but the two frameworks differ in some important respects that could negatively impact the global environment for user speech online. This post offers a comparison of Section J and Section 512 with a focus on the rights of users and the status of user expression in the TPP’s intermediary safe harbor provisions.
[Electronic Information for Libraries, Link (CC-BY)] EIFL and the Kenya Library and Information Services Consortium (KLISC) have jointly responded to a public consultation organized by the Kenya Copyright Board on proposals to provide web blocking measures in cases of online copyright infringement (also known as ISP liability).
[Paul Keller, Communia, Link (Public Domain)] It is generally accepted wisdom that if you do not want something to be noticed you can best announce it on a Friday afternoon. Presenting a study right before the start of the summer holidays is a variation of this. Seen in this light, it is a bit unfortunate that the Spanish Association of Publishers of Periodical Publications (AEEPP) decided to release a study on the impact of the Spanish ancillary copyright on the 9th of July when half of Europe was already in (pre)vacation mode (which is why we are covering the study 3 months after its release—for your post vacation enjoyment).
Urs Gasser and Wolfgang Schulz
Berkman Center Research Publication No. 2015-5
February 2015 | Full Text (SSRN)
A review of online intermediary governance frameworks and issues in Brazil, the European Union, India, South Korea, the United States, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam creates a picture full of nuance, whether looking at the genesis of intermediary frameworks, the reasons for intervention, or the specifics of the respective governance models, including strategies, institutions, modalities, and the effects of regulation, among other dimensions. The country case studies both highlight and illustrate the importance of cultural and political context, which is not only reflected in the respective legal norms aimed at regulating intermediaries, but also expressed through different views and perceptions regarding the social function of intermediaries. In some sense, the case studies and the way in which the authors tell the story themselves mirror the same context and diversity. Similarly, the importance of the socioeconomic context has become clearly visible. Many of the features of various intermediary governance models can hardly be understood without considering their economic context, in conjunction with demographic characteristics and shifts.
Eleonora Rabinovich, Digital Rights LAC, Link (CC-BY-SA)
The Argentine Supreme Court has finally published its ruling on intermediary liability. The Court, grounded on strong principles, solved an issue which had generated contradictory and-in many cases-problematic jurisprudence within the country. However, there are still some issues which shall be clarified by future regulations.
Tyler Snell, Digital Rights LAC, Link (CC-BY-SA)
A growing pernicious trend that is greatly affecting digital policy around the world is called “policy laundering” – the use of secretive international trade agreements to pressure countries to commit to restrictive or overly broad laws that would not ordinarily pass a transparent, democratic process.
[Jeremy Malcolm and Maira Sutton, EFF, Link (CC-BY)] Due to the unprecedented secrecy surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations taking place this week in Ottawa, there was no formal opportunity to engage with negotiators about the concerns that EFF and many others have expressed—over issues such as the extension of copyright protection by 20 years, and the delegation of ISPs as copyright police with the power to remove content and terminate accounts.
With the alternative of allowing this round of negotiations to proceed without any public input on these important issues (and bearing in mind the maxim “If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad…”), EFF and its partners in the Our Fair Deal coalition decided to hold a side event of our own next to the venue of the negotiations. TPP negotiators were invited to watch keynote talks by two of Canada’s top copyright experts.
The WILMap is a detailed English-language resource comprised of case law, statutes, and proposed laws related to intermediary liability worldwide. The WILMap allows visitors to the CIS website to select information on countries of interest through a graphical user interface.