Following the broadband money

Rightsholders secure G8 victory on online copyright

with 4 comments

The G8 heads of state ignored pleas from Google’s Eric Schmidt and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to delay “premature” lock-down of the internet.

Instead, they preferred to support host French president Nicholas Sarkozy’s controversial view of how to tackle online piracy. But they hinted they may change their minds, given fresh evidence.

In a statement on the internet issued at Deauville, the G8 leaders said the sometimes heated E>G8, where both Schmidt and Zuckerman spoke, was a “free and fruitful debate” and “a contribution for all relevant fora on current and future challenges”.

Nevertheless, they were “renewing” their commitment to ensure effective action against “violations of intellectual property rights in the digital arena, including action that addresses present and future infringements”.

They said, “We recognise that the effective implementation of intellectual property rules requires suitable international cooperation of relevant stakeholders, including with the private sector.”

They committed themselves to find ways to increase access and openness to knowledge, education and culture. This included encouraging continued innovation in legal online trade in goods and content, that were “respectful of our intellectual property rights”.

This was a victory for copyright intensive businesses such as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Fox Studios, as well as France’s Vivendi and even Orange, the French mobile network operator. At the E>G8 Murdoch himself as well as representatives of the above firms, and others, argued for tougher penalties for content thieves and vigorous policing of the internet by internet service providers (ISPs).

On the related matter of users’ privacy, the leaders said individuals were ultimately responsible for what they put online. They agreed it was important to protect personal data and individual privacy to earn users’ trust. While ISPs, regulators and governments had a role, users needed to be “better aware of their responsibility” when placing personal data on the internet, they said.

Turning to cybersecurity, the G8 called for coordination between governments, regional and international organisations, the private sector, civil society and the G8’s own work in the Roma-Lyon group, to fight cyberterrorists and cybercriminals.

They said user awareness of the threat of botnets was crucial to fight attacks against infrastructure, networks and services, and against spreading malware.

They called on all stakeholders to fight the use of the internet for trafficking in children and for their sexual exploitation. They promised to work towards improving online child safety and parental controls, without limiting free expression.

They said there had been good progress in improving internet access in developing countries, particularly for education and healthcare.

They said they looked forward to further input from several international conferences later in the year. These were the Internet Governance Forum (September), the OECD meeting on the internet economy in Paris (June 2012), the London Internet Cyber Conference scheduled (November), and the Avignon Conference on Copyright (November).


Written by Br0kenTeleph0n3

2011/05/27 at 14:32

4 Responses

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  1. I’m not so sure. The language seems wishy-washy. Bearing in mind the most important issue for the chair and host is for the summit to be seen as a success, there is always going to be something that looks like a productive move forward on each of the agenda items.

    What do we have?

    14. Recognising the trans-border challenges in an Elastic Jurisdiction. No agreed solutions.

    15. “Renewing” of commitments – what does this mean? The previous efforts (ACTA etc) have stalled, and will be re-started? No new commitments? More recognition of problems…

    Tellingly, 15. then goes on to mention openness “We are committed to identifying ways of facilitating greater access and openness to knowledge, education and culture, including by encouraging continued innovation in legal on line trade in goods and content, that are respectful of our intellectual property rights.”

    Not so sure this lack of substance is anything like a success for the copyright lobby.


    James Firth

    2011/05/27 at 15:04

    • I sure hope you are right, James. Regards Acta, the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement, it seems the European Commission seems keen to have the European Parliament pass it, so I’m not sure it’s dead yet.


      2011/05/27 at 15:18

      • I don’t for a moment think it’s a step in the right direction. ACTA and various other processes of control are all still ongoing.

        But my take after first reading the agreement was this says very little. Some “kind words for the host” in lieu of Sarkozy’s public position on internet controls, but this doesn’t look to me like a substantive agreement, wouldn’t you say?

        James Firth

        2011/05/27 at 15:21

      • Yes, kind words for the host to be sure.
        I don’t know if you followed the E>G8 event, but the body language of what I call the Old Guard seemed distinctly uncomfortable. (Actually, @JPBarlow looked as if he was surrounded by rattlesnakes 😉
        I have no doubt that politicians and the Old Guard know that times are changing, but they want to wring everything they can out of the status quo, and win more time, before they capitulate to the “economy of surplus”. After all, we heard that paid-for Netflix generates more traffic that “free” BitTorrent now. I believe the music and film companies could really profit from digital distribution because the marginal costs are tiny compared to physical distribution of the same content.


        2011/05/27 at 15:36

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