The law of the internet – Swedish pirates, copyrights and the EU

For your copyright/freedom geeks out there, wake up, these are the days!

Some major trials are taking place in several countries, they might change the way we are using the internet/consuming content. I’ll give you some links from the few cases I’ve followed lately, I’m sure there are many more (please send me links for other interesting cases!):

Sweden -The trial of the Pirate Bay (also called the “spectrial”, spectacle + trial) backers started on Monday this week. Ars Technica has a good summary of the start, and boils the case down to: “the question is simply whether creating a search engine and tracker service that traffics mainly in copyrighted content is illegal in Sweden or not.” Here you can follow the tweets (#spectrial) from the trial, Norwegian daily Dagbladet has interesting enough included them in their coverage of the case. You can also follow a CoverItLive Twitter feed from the Pirate Bay trial (via a Twitter friend of mine, Morten Skogly).

USA. New York’s Governor, David Paterson, is suggesting a tax on Internet downloads (because of a nearly $15 billion budget deficit). The tax will include all kinds of downloads, also porn. Paterson calls it the “iPod tax”. (via Digi).(what would happen if he called it the “porn tax”? – would probably not pass, would it?)

Brussels. Music copyrights extended from 50 till 95 years? That might become a reality. Last week, a majority of the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee voted for an extention, but the vote is not final – yet. There is going to be a plenary vote on 24-26 March. Green MEP Eva Lichtenberger is concerned.  She said the vote would “be music to the ears of major record companies and an elite group of wealthy performers. They stand to profit from proposed changes to copyright law, while lesser-known artists and consumers pay the price,” adding that the Greens would call for a complete rejection of the proposal at the plenary vote.

New Zealand. Black Twitter profiles? You’ve probably seen them already. People all over the world, even British comedian Stephen Fry, have removed their normal avatar and put up a black box in support of the fight against internet blackout on New Zealand. They are protesting the Guilt Upon Accusation law ‘Section 92A‘ that calls for internet disconnection based on accusations of copyright infringement without a trial and without any evidence held up to court scrutiny. This is due to come into effect on February 28th unless immediate action is taken by the National Party (anyone remember Sarkozy’s “three strikes and out”?).

Ireland/Norway. The Data Retention Directive (Datalagringsdirektivet for my Norwegian readers) has sound legal basis, according to the European Court of Justice (EJC), and will not be rejected or changed. In other words, Norway has two choices (since the Irish couldn’t do the dirty job of getting rid of the directive for us): Implement it or veto (Norway has never vetoed a EU directive before, since 1994…)

3 thoughts on “The law of the internet – Swedish pirates, copyrights and the EU

  1. This year for the seventh time between the 4th and the 7th of July the European parliament will be elected. To many European citizens this seems to be the only way possible to take part in the political process. Still only few know that things have changed with the treaty of Lisbon.
    The treaty’s article 11(4) says that every citizen’s group concerning Europe in entirety with a million or more votes has to be taken up in the political decision-making process.
    It is important for me to share the knowledge that political participation in Europe is possible beyond political parties, especially since the European parliament will be elected this year. Europe-wide, direct, acitve votes for European citizens’ are possible.
    Please notice the Link I found on an Austrian Website: http://www.we-change-europe.eu

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