By Maryant Fernández Pérez

On 12 August 2015, EDRi-gram reported about a Portuguese “self-regulatory” agreement against alleged online infringements of copyright and related rights. The agreement has already entered into force and is now public, thanks to a Portuguese citizen who made a freedom of information request and successfully appealed its initial rejection before the Portuguese Commission on Access to Administrative Documents (CADA).

The agreement, a “Memorandum of Understanding” was concluded between various private and public bodies,including two Portuguese public bodies, copyright and related rights-holders associations, the Portuguese Association of Telecom Operators (APRITEL), the organisation responsible for .pt domain registrations DNS.PT, the anti-“piracy” group MAPINET and advertising associations. Prior to the conclusion, the agreement had been facilitated and promoted by the Portuguese government. In an official statement, the government reported that consumer organisations had also signed the agreement. However, no consumer organisation currently appears as a party to the agreement.

The agreement foresees that the signatory copyright associations will notify MAPINET of websites that contain either a minimum of 500 works which allegedly infringe copyright and/or content providers’ rights, or sites that contain two-thirds allegedly infringing contents. MAPINET will be in charge of gathering the evidence submitted by the associations and will forward a maximum of two wide-ranging complaints to IGAC per month. IGAC then contacts Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to restrict access to the websites through “Domain Name System (DNS) blocking” within 15 working days. The blocks expire after a year, unless IGAC determines otherwise. Additionally, the affected websites will be excluded from carrying advertisements from participating parties.

EDRi has long campaigned against such “voluntary agreements”: they undermine the rule of law, do not show any evidence of their effectiveness (or even lack of counterproductive effect), and run counter to principles of human rights online without the right to redress nor due process of law.

EDRi-gram: Portugal: “Voluntary” agreement against copyright infringements (12.08.2015)
https://edri.org/portugal-voluntary-agreement-against-copyright-infringements/

Memorandum of Understanding against alleged copyright infringements (only in Portuguese, 30.07.2015)
https://paulasimoesblog.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/memorando.pdf

Memorandum of Understanding: Website Blocking in Portugal #PL118 (only in Portuguese, 01.09.2015)
https://paulasimoesblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/pdf-memorando-de-entendimento-bloqueio-de-sites-em-portugal-pl118/

Portuguese Commission on Access to Administrative Documents (CADA)
http://www.cada.pt/

(Contribution by Maryant Fernández Pérez, EDRi)

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