Spain passed its Intellectual Property Law, with its hotly debated, so-called Google tax that allows for fines on aggregators that show snippets of content without paying for it. Critics of the law argue that in addition to the confusion of including private copy in the law, the wording on what constitutes as piracy is "vague" and "weak," failing to offer a clear-cut definition to rule against sites that violate property rights. Additionally, Spain is altering its penal code to move more forcefully against copyright violation by closing down sites that link to illegal content.
Denmark was the first European country to force an ISP to block access to The Pirate Bay. Following this, a Danish Court has now ordered another round of pirate site blocks, the largest one thus far.
Following a complaint from the local Rights Alliance (RettighedsAlliancen) group the blocklist was updated with 12 popular torrent, streaming and MP3 download sites. Due to a recent agreement the sites will be blocked by all ISPs, even those not mentioned in the lawsuit. Late last year Rights Alliance and the telecommunications industry signed a Code of Conduct which ensures that blockades are put in place country-wide.
As previously reported on the EDRi website two Danish citizens were arrested and charged with “distributing information and instructions about illegal content” for publishing a website with information about the popular culture sharing tool Popcorn Time, which does not even contain links to infringing content. Now the content industry’s Dutch copyright enforcement body BREIN has pushed two Dutch developers of the open source tool into taking their software down from Github, a popular development platform for software, and to enter into contractual agreements with BREIN, on the basis of claims that they would face severe penalties if they resume development of the software.
On 14 September, Politico published a leaked draft of the European Commission’s Communication “Tackling Illegal Content Online”. The Communication contains “guidelines” to tackle illegal content, while remaining coy in key areas. It is expected to be officially published on 27 September.
The European Commission publishes a set of guidelines and principles for online platforms, aimed to fight against illegal content online in cooperation with national authorities, Member States and other relevant stakeholders.
In order to be constructive and support the European Commission in developing a balanced, rights-friendly and harmonised approach to deal with illegal content online in the future, EDRi has written a letter to the Digital Economy Commissioner Mariya Gabriel. They propose the Commission to adopt at least three workstreams: a “fundamental rights framework”, “learning from experience”, and “effective and predictable frameworks for addressing illegal content”.