Online copyright enforcement by Internet Service Providers

2012-10-23T10:34:34Z (GMT) by Adrienne Muir
The culture of online sharing of information on the Internet extends to unauthorised sharing of copyright content, and is perceived as a major threat to copyright owners and content industries. Enforcement of existing copyright laws is difficult due to the widespread nature of unauthorised sharing. Rights holders have pursued individuals and organisations involved through existing legal channels, with limited success. They have also engaged in voluntary arrangements with Internet Service Providers to educate and, potentially punish infringers. Governments have more recently become involved in developing new legislation with similar aims. The approaches to addressing the issue have been controversial, mainly because of lack of transparency in their development and concerns about their potential impact on the rights of individuals. The approaches to addressing online copyright infringement are described. The nature of the policy making process and its impact on how legal measures are perceived are analysed. The potential impact of measures on the rights of subscribers is discussed. A key conclusion is that new measures to combat unauthorised file sharing need not, in principle, adversely affect the balance between rights, but the design and implementation of legal measures do raise concerns in terms of necessity and proportionality.