Unblocking the Digital Economy Act 2010: human rights issues in the UK

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Abstract

Through an example of a study utilizing the case-law research method, this paper critically assesses whether taking into account both the findings of Mr La Rue (the United Nations Rapporteur on Human Rights) as well as some Court of Justice of the European Union's (CJEU) case-law, website blocking could be implemented in a way which is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), in particular, with Article 10. Drawing upon, inter alia, Ofcom site blocking review, sections 17 and 18 of the Digital Economy Act 2010 (DEA), section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA), and some independent expert evidence, this paper's major argument is that in view of the CJEU SABAM v Scarlet and SABAM v Netlog, the UK government's decision to repeal the website blocking provisions of the DEA appears appropriate. The paper examines the findings of Fox v BT. It contrasts such findings with the CJEU's case-law and in light of the incompatibility of any website blocking measure with the cumulative three-part test set out in the United Nations Rapporteur on Human Rights discusses a number of implications. It concludes that given that the implementation of content blocking systems, such as Cleanfeed is likely to result in general monitoring being carried out; the UK government could possibly be in breach of EU law, namely, Article 15(1) of Directive 2000/31.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-45
Number of pages48
JournalInternational Review of Law, Computers & Technology
Volume27
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2013

Keywords

  • website blocking orders
  • Digital Economy Act 2010 (DEA)
  • freedom of expresion
  • copyright
  • file sharing
  • UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the internet
  • Article 10 ECHR
  • section 97A CDPA

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