Features

Access denied: an international perspective on ISP blocking injunctions

By Nathaniel Boyer, Josefine Crona, Zhen (Katie) Feng, PJ Kaur, Eugene Low, Alastair Shaw and Jessica Vosgerchian

While the UK Court of Appeal has opened the door for broadband ISP blocking to combat trademark or copyright-infringing activities, the picture in the United States, China and Hong Kong is more complex

“‘It is, it is a glorious thing, to be a Pirate King,’ said W.S. Gilbert: but he was speaking of ship pirates. Today we speak of film pirates. It is not a glorious thing to be, but it is a good thing to be in for making money.” So said celebrated English judge Lord Denning in a 1980 pirate video case. One could say that being an IP pirate king today is much less risky than it was then; it can certainly be more lucrative. It is logistically more straightforward, with an enormous potential global market for unlawful copies of commercial content and counterfeit goods, downloadable at the touch of a screen or delivered in small packages from almost anywhere in the world. Add to this the ease with which, at the first sign of serious trouble, your virtual pirate galleon can set sail and anchor at another server in a remote jurisdiction where it is not easily enforced against. Or, if sunk by a takedown request, it can simply be refloated and renamed. The 21st century Blackbeards and street market hustlers of cyberspace might well feel as if the World Wide Web was made specially for them.

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Issue 71