Colleagues Charlotte Waelde and Lilian Edwards were the keynote speakers at WIPO’s Seminar on Copyright and Internet Intermediaries. The preliminary reports from the seminar are quite interesting. For example, EDRI-Gram has a comprehensive review of the proceedings (not online yet at the time of writing this), but it has a very good write-up about what my two colleagues did (congratulations Lilian and Charlotte). The report says:
The opening keynote speeches by Lilian Edwards and Charlotte Waelde from the AHRB Research Centre in Intellectual Property and Technology of the University of Edinburgh provided the audience with an excellent overview of all the issues related to provider liability for content provided or shared by their customers. Edwards started with the problematic definition of ‘service provider’, which now also includes online auctions, search engines, RSS feeds, blogs, chat-rooms and price comparison sites. In the period leading up to the year 2000 governments were hesitant to regulate liability, fearing it would disturb the nascent market. But after 2000 the market was mature enough and governments and the entertainment industry were dissatisfied about the lack of self-regulatory solutions. The EU E-commerce directive from 2000 then forced a compromise by distinguishing in possible liability for hosting third party content and no liability for mere conduit and temporary caching. Charlotte Waelde analysed the jurisprudence of the different court cases against producers of P2P software, both in the US and in the Netherlands. She concluded that it is crucial for the liability question in P2P cases to determine whether the ISP is somehow authorising the infringement, or whether an ISP is entitled to presume that facilities will be used in accordance with the law.
Very interesting stuff, I can’t wait to hear more about the meeting.