Journal Article

Copyright and freedom of expression in the online world

Graham Smith

in Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice

Volume 5, issue 2, pages 88-95
Published in print February 2010 | ISSN: 1747-1532
Published online February 2010 | e-ISSN: 1747-1540 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jiplp/jpp222
Copyright and freedom of expression in the online world

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Legal context.

Courts are increasingly recognizing that fundamental rights of freedom of expression, such as enshrined in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), can act as an external constraint on the scope of copyright and remedies for infringement. At the same time, online and internet activities produce novel fact sets in which strict enforcement of copyright, combined with the inflexible limited exceptions to infringement under European copyright laws, can produce troubling outcomes.

Key points.

ECHR Article 10 may have a significant role to play in online copyright disputes where the enforcement of copyright prejudices the right to impart, receive, and seek out information.

Practical significance.

This may be of particular relevance to copyright in images, since for an image it is often difficult or impossible to find an adequate alternative means of expression. Image search is one example of an activity where Article 10 arguments are likely to be relevant. Others include cross-border cases and proposals to deny internet access to those whose accounts are used for repeated unlawful file-sharing.

Journal Article.  6276 words. 

Subjects: Arbitration ; Intellectual Property Law

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