[A2k] EU-wide public consultation on the issue of online copyright

Manon Ress manon.ress at keionline.org
Wed Jun 6 10:28:47 PDT 2012

Brussels launches EU-wide public consultation on internet copyright enforcement

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION has kicked off an EU-wide public consultation
on the issue of online copyright, ahead of possibly introducing new
EU-wide rules on the matter.

The public consultation specifically deals with the presence of
illegal content on a website, and how website hosts should be notified
about its presence.

The questionnaire specifically identifies three major failings with
the current regime of how a host is notified about illegal content
being kept on their facilities – the legal uncertainty surrounding 27
different legal regimes, the lack of clear rules and identifiable
procedures, and the potential for abuse where legal content is the
subject of a take-down request.

Current EU directives – specifically the E-commerce Directive under
which Ireland was forced to introduce new legislation earlier this
year – include exemptions for ‘intermediary service providers’, and
provide that web hosts can not be held liable for hosting illegal
content if they are unaware of its presence, and if they act
“expeditiously” to remove it.

The Commission is now seeking the input of all stakeholders in order
to address the shortcomings in the current system, which the
Commission says will assist it in bringing forward new initiatives on
the ‘notice-and-action’ procedures which now exist.

The questionnaire will remain open until September and can be accessed here.

A similar consultation being run by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise
and Innovation on Ireland’s copyright laws, spurred by February’s
enactment of legislation dubbed the ‘Irish SOPA’, remains ongoing with
submissions accepted until mid-July.

Manon Anne Ress
Knowledge Ecology International
1621 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20009 USA
manon.ress at keionline.org

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