The Stockholm District Court decided to order the seizure of two key domains owned by The Pirate Bay, however it is unlikely that the site's operation will disappear completely. The motivation for the seizure is that The Pirate Bay is an illegal operation, thus its domains are tools used by the site to infringe copyright.
While two of the domains (ThePirateBay.se - the site’s main domain and PirateBay.se - a lesser used alternative) will be will be put out of action, the District Court dismissed the prosecution’s case against Punkt.se, the organization responsible for Sweden’s top level .SE domain.
In Case C-484/14 McFadden, a reference for a preliminary ruling from Germany is seeking clarification as regards the liability of internet service providers (ISPs) for third-party copyright infringements.
"If a person offers free non-password-protected access to the Internet, and an unknown user passes a piece of copyright-infringing music over that Internet connection, then can the person offering the Internet access be absolved of legal liability on the basis that he is but a ‘mere conduit’ under [Article 12 of] the EU’s ‘E-Commerce’ Directive 2000/31/EC [read in light of Recital 42 in the preamble to this very directive]?"
More facts about the case are available here.
EFF together with a coalition of other organizations from both sides of the Atlantic have formulated an open letter presenting their views on why a result that threatens open wireless would be a serious loss to innovators, small businesses, travellers, emergency services and users at large.
The main question point in CJEU case McFadden (C-484/14) is whether locking of open wireless networks would be a proportionate enforcement mechanism that advances the public interest. The case concerns a German shopkeeper whose free open wireless network was allegedly used to infringe copyright. In the preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Europe's highest court is asked whether an enforcement practice requiring open wireless networks to be locked is an acceptable one.
Germany's Federal Supreme Court in 2010 held that the private operator of a wireless network is obliged to use password protection in order to prevent abuse by third parties. If the CJEU affirms this finding, the effect could be to extend this bad precedent throughout Europe, grounding the open wireless movement across the continent. If on the other hand it rejects that finding, German law will allow thousands of hotspot operators to open up their networks again.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ruled that the Estonian news site Delfi may be held responsible for anonymous and allegedly defamatory comments from its readers. This goes against the European Union’s e-commerce directive, which guarantees liability protection for intermediaries that implement notice-and-takedown mechanisms on third-party comments.
Therefore, one of the worrying aspects of the ECtHR decision is that it may encourage the idea that intermediaries are liable for "manifestly unlawful" content, without specifying what "manifestly unlawful" actually means.
A government's statement announced on Wednesday that Merkel’s cabinet supports a new bill that would remove the liability for WiFi providers. Under the bill, providers won’t be held liable as long as they secure the network properly and get users to agree not to act illegally.
The European Commission is preparing a new attempt to force search engines and news portals pay media companies for promoting their freely accessible articles. Earlier attempts at establishing this principle resulted in Germany’s and Spain’s ancillary copyright laws for press publishers. These attempts backfired – with tremendous collateral damage.
According to a draft communication on copyright reform leaked yesterday (via IPKat), the Commission is considering putting the simple act of linking to content under copyright protection. This idea flies in the face of both existing interpretation and spirit of the law as well as common sense. Each weblink would become a legal landmine and would allow press publishers to hold every single actor on the Internet liable.