Here’s the First Commandment for the Study of Internet Law: What the Internet was is not what the Internet shall always be. A few more stories echoing the last post’s theme:
- France’s Constitutional Council rejected the legislature’s attempt to thwart digital piracy by terminating Internet access for alleged illegal downloaders. Under the legislative proposal “a newly created agency, acting on the recommendations of copyright owners, would have been able to order Internet service providers to shut down the accounts of copyright cheats who ignored two warnings to stop.” The Council held the proposal violated French constitutional principles including the presumption of innocence and freedom of speech.
- The on-again, off-again Italian trial of four Google executives on criminal defamation and privacy charges arising from Google’s failure to remove a YouTube video of the bullying of an autistic boy in Turin started again this week–and then stopped after one day, when a translator failed to appear. The prosecution claims “that Google should have acted to prevent the broadcast of the footage and that by failing to do so it breached the disabled boy’s privacy.” Google, in turn, claims it has no legal liability to monitor content posted by third-parties and that “seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open internet.” The charges, which carry potential prison terms of three years, underscore the profound difference between U.S. and European Union privacy law and the importance of ISP liability immunity provided by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
- NetChoice published its Internet Advocates Watchlist for Ugly Laws–“iAwful” to publicize “ the top ten worst proposed laws affecting ecommerce and open communications. . . . [The list’s] primary focus is on laws that will affect business, particularly by increasing taxes or dictating standards and practices that the group thinks are unworkable.”