A major Internet conference ended today in Paris with the publication of an official “Communiqué on Principles for Internet Policy-Making”. A key piece of these principles involves deputizing ISPs to become Internet cops—cops that would act on the basis of “voluntary agreements” with content owners and other groups, not on national laws that would also include USENET related matters.
At the two-day meeting at the OECD headquarters in Paris, governments, business representatives and technical experts debated the need for internet governance. The resulting communique underlines “the benefits that today’s light-touch, flexible regulation has brought in driving innovation and economic growth”, the OECD said a statement. The development of an international regulatory regime could risk undermining the internet’s growth, according to the communique.
The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) represents 34 governments including European Union member states, the U.S., Canada, Australia, Mexico and Korea. Its communication focuses on copyright infringement and the measures ISPs could take to deter this.
he OECD draft would make search engines and internet service providers play a more active role in monitoring copyright abuse, potentially becoming responsible for filtering and blocking access to websites that house copyright-infringing material.
Groups including La Quadrature du Net and the Electronic Frontier Foundation said they could not endorse the plan because it calls for private policing of the internet and would lead to censorship in the name of copyright protection.
EFF and CSISAC urge OECD member countries to adopt policies that protect the open Internet and affirm existing limits on the liability of Internet intermediaries. They oppose legal and policy frameworks that encourage Internet intermediaries to filter and block online content or disconnect Internet users under a “graduated response” system after alleged copyright violations. Civil society calls on OECD member states to defend free expression and support due process and procedural safeguards in the protection of intellectual property rights.
“Civilizing” the Internet has largely been a country-by-country affair to date, but 2011 looks to be the year in which Internet “rules of the road” truly go global. More than 80 campaign groups have expressed disappointment with OECD’s proposed online copyright protection plan.