European Intermediary Liability in Copyright. A Tort-Based Analysis
Information Law Series Volume 39
European Intermediary Liability in Copyright provides a clarification on the existing rules of the European Union on the liability of internet intermediaries for third party copyright infringement. On this basis, it formulates a plausible model for a potential future further harmonisation of this complicated area.
In step with its rapid progress to the centre of modern social, political and economic life, the internet has proven a convenient vehicle for the commission of unprecedented levels of copyright infringement. Given the significant practical obstacles to the successful pursuit of actual perpetrators, it has become common for internet intermediaries – the providers of internet-related infrastructure and services – to face liability as accessories. Despite advances in policy at the European level however, the law in this area remains fragmented between Member States. This is the first book to take a law-based approach towards exploring the possible substantive harmonisation of the rules of intermediary liability at the EU level.
The thesis on which the book was based won Proxime Accessit in the 2016 European Law Faculties Association Award for Outstanding Doctoral Theses in European Law.
What’s in this book:
The book engages in a detailed comparative analysis of the rules that govern intermediary liability in copyright in three major national European jurisdictions: England & Wales, France, and Germany. The author elucidates the relationship between these rules and the requirements of the EU law on fundamental rights, as well as the basic principles of European tort law. On this basis, she clearly presents the interrelations between such areas as the following:
- joint tortfeasance (accessory liability in tort law);
- European fault-based liability: fault, causation, defences;
- negligence balancing: rights-based or utility-based;
- Germany’s ‘disturbance liability’ (Störerhaftung);
- fair balance in human rights;
- end-users’ fundamental rights;
- the European Commission’s 2015 Communication on a Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe;
- the safe harbours of the E-Commerce Directive (mere conduit, caching, hosting) and other relevant provisions;
- enforcement measures: monitoring, filtering, blocking, removal of infringing content; and
- remedies: damages and injunctions.
The strong points of each national system are highlighted, as are the commonalities between them. The author then uses these to build a model harmonised European framework for intermediary liability for copyright infringement. The author concludes with suggestions as to ways in which the proposed framework could potentially be integrated into EU law.
How this will help you:
This book discusses the issue of the liability of internet intermediaries for third-party copyright infringement. The topic has entered into the political agenda across the globe, giving rise to one of the most complex, contentious and fascinating debates in modern copyright law. The solution this book proposes offers an opportunity for a re-conceptualisation and rationalisation of the applicable law, in a way that better accounts for the cross-border nature of the internet. The proposed integration of intermediary accessory copyright liability into underlying national tort norms, the common principles of European tort law and the EU law of fundamental rights will prove to be of inestimable value to many interested stakeholders – lawyers, internet intermediaries, NGOs, policymakers, universities, libraries, researchers, lobbyists – in matters regarding information society.
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List of Abbreviations
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 The Need for Reform: The Current EU Legal Framework
Chapter 3 Digging Deeper: The National Norms on Intermediary Accessory Liability
Chapter 4 Back to the Basics: The Elements of a European Accessory Liability
Chapter 5 Shaping European Intermediary Accessory Copyright Liability: What Would a Reasonable Intermediary Do?
Chapter 6 Summary and Conclusion