Freedom of speech
In a long awaited ruling, the Maritime and Commercial Court in Copenhagen has decided that so-called deep linking is legal in Denmark. The decision is expected to have a major impact on many Danish online-services and search engines.
Controversially, the Maritime and Commercial Court has decided to go against a prior verdict by a lower Danish court. In July 2002, the court ruled that the Danish company Newsbooster was violating copyright law and marketing law by using deep links to articles in Danish online-newspapers. Instead of linking to the main pages of the newspapers, Newsbooster was linking directly to the individual articles, thereby allowing readers to bypass the front pages. The newspapers demanded that the service be shut down - with success.
In the new case, the court has taken the opposite stance. This time, the
The Council of Europe Group of Specialists on Human Rights in the Information Society (CoE MC-S-IS) held its 4th meeting on 9-10 March in Strasbourg, with EDRI participating in its capacity of non governmental observer. Among the many issues on the agenda were:
- the analysis of answers to the questionnaire sent by the group to CoE member States on their implementation of the CoE Declaration of freedom of communication on the Internet (only 7 out of 46 answers received so far); -the review of the CoE Recommendation on media coverage of election campaigns taking into account new medias, the mapping of human rights issues and guidelines with regards to roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders; - the development of strategies promoting digital inclusion and Internet literacy;
During 6 January - 6 February 2006, e-belarus.org conducted a survey of Belarusian online media by selecting 10 very different websites of various types, as well as with different political attitudes. The selection was made on the basis of the average number of visitors per day.
The analysis of the 10 selected online news resources revealed that 58% of the total number of news is taken from national online and offline resources and 37% from foreign sources. 5% of the total number of news is presented without mentioning its sources. National press agencies cover 34% of the news, 38% news comes from foreign sources (out of which 27% from Russia), 8% of news is taken from each other and only 5% of the total number of news is original content.
The major sources for Belarusian online media are national press agencies
The Italian parliament has caused controversy by two new legislative acts. A newly adopted law against child abuse gives overly broad powers to the police, while a proposed new law on the protection of intellectual property gives too much leeway to organisations for collective rights management.
On 23 January 2006 the Italian Parliament approved a modification of Law 269/1998, in order to fight child pornography, The modified provisions give a very broad power to the police. The text of the act includes a series of vague terms and descriptions which may lead to subjective interpretation.
Art.14bis of the law introduces the National Centre that should check "incriminated" sites and individuals.
Under the law, the internet providers become investigators who are obliged to control and announce to the National Centre any company or individual who
A High Level Seminar on Racism and the Internet - the 4th Session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action took place in Geneva, during 16-17 January 2006.
Dr. Yaman Akdeniz, director and founder of Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties prepared a background report for the seminar with the title "Stocktaking on efforts to combat racism on the Internet".
The report makes an attempt to evaluate the possibilities and challenges an Internet user faces in propagating and countering material with a racist content. It tries to provide an overview of the issues under debate, focusing on self-regulation and co-regulation initiatives to combat racism on the Internet.
The report finds that the States have yet to reach a political agreement on
The German version of the worldwide encyclopaedia Wikipedia was offline for three days, after a legal complaint filed by the parents of a hacker who's real name was mentioned online.
Tron was a German hacker and phreaker who found a controversial death in 1998. Amongst other things, Tron broke the security of the German phonecard by producing working clones. He was also known for his diploma thesis where he created the Cryptophon, which was one of the first public implementations of a telephone with built-in voice encryption.
The Berlin court issued a preliminary interdiction on 17 January against access to the German domain www.wikipedia.de, as a redirect to the German Wikipedia version.
The preliminary interdiction did forbid the redirect as long as the family name was online in the article at de.wikipedia.org. However, the public
The Civil Society in Macedonia is very much concerned about the quality of the proposed draft Law on Free Access to Information of Public Character as it does not meet international standards on access to information. Today (18.01.2006), it is expected that the Macedonian Parliament will adopt the Law.
Nongovernmental organizations Article 19, Foundation Open Society Institute - Macedonia, Pro Media-Skopje and Transparency-Macedonia sent an open letter to the President of the Republic of Macedonia, President of the Parliament and the President of the Government stating their concerns regarding the weaknesses in the latest Draft Law on Free Access to Information. They also complain about the lack of real progress towards its adoption.
The letter that was signed by 126 Macedonian civil society organizations
Freedom of speech won in a battle that lasted for a decade between Karin Spaink, a Dutch writer and XS4ALL, her Internet service provider, on one side, and the Church of Scientology, on the other side, which was claiming copyright infringement.
It all began in 1995 when the Church of Scientology attempted to seize the servers of the Internet service provider, XS4ALL, for having hosted a web site where some of the Scientology religious documents were published, claiming the infringement of the copyright.
Hearing of the dispute, Spaink posted the same documents to her own site hosted by Xs4all. Later on she stated: "I got into this because I thought it was important to define how copyright issues are settled online and how ISPs should or should not be held accountable," .