Recommended reading, 17-23 January 2013

Action!

Hacked Off would like your comments on its draft Leveson Bill.  Read all about it at this post on Inforrm. Comments by 15 February 2013.  It would be wonderful to see more of this type of engagement on the part of civil society organisations.

Academic publications

Matthias Kettemann, ‘The UN Human Rights Council Resolution on Human Rights on the Internet: Boost or Bust for Online Human Rights Protection‘ [2012] Human Security Perspectives 145. A short, well-referenced and very exacting comment on the ‘La Rue Report’ and associated documents on human rights and the Internet.

Timothy Zick, The Cosmopolitan First Amendment: Protecting Transborder Expressive and Religious Liberties. The first two chapters of this new book (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press) are available for download from SSRN.  Zick’s first book on speech and place is one of the most important contributions to the field of First Amendment studies of recent years; it was very useful when I wrote about similar issues in a European context and I read it with great interest.  So this new book is something to look forward to.

Lorna Woods, ‘Beyond Murphy, Films and Football: Audiovisual Content in Europe’ (2012) 4 Journal of Media Law 189 (£). A copyright-focused discussion sparked by the Murphy (Greek decoder cards in UK pubs) decision and its consequences, with a particularly interesting section on competition and video-on-demand (which is the theme of this week’s post, it seems).

News, blog posts, etc

John Tate, ‘Ensuring prominence for public service content as media converges‘ (About the BBC Blog 17 January 2013). A BBC report on ‘due prominence’ for public service media, on its way to Government but already the subject of interesting debate. A key issue is dealing with alternative forms of distribution (e.g. video-on-demand) and the future-facing yet very 90s issue of ‘portals’ – specifically, how to apply the type of regulation currently used, i.e. a ‘good’ slot on an electronic programme guide or EPG.  (When I was speaking about minority-language broadcasting in the UK recently, I was intrigued to see how a debate arose in relation to a point I had just mentioned, which was geographically-limited EPG prominence for Gaelic and Welsh broadcasters; some saw this as significant but others very much deemed it a legacy issue).

Eleonora Rosati, ‘The (low) cost of balancing broadcasting rights with the public interest‘ (IPKat 22 January 2013).  A note on the Court of Justice decision in Sky v ORD C-283/11.  The case is a human rights challenge to the ‘short extracts’ provision of EU broadcasting law, added in the beloved Audiovisual Media Services Directive in 2007, and now consolidated as article 15 of Directive 2010/13.  The rights cited by Sky (for that is who challenged the provision – and it was clearly the principle rather than any specific problem in the Austrian implementation or the specific incident) were property rights (EUCFR and ECHR) and the freedom to conduct a business (EUCFR). However, the Court of Justice comes down pretty firmly in favour of the Directive.

Dirk Voorhoof & Inger Høedt-Rasmussen, ‘Copyright vs Freedom of Expression Judgment‘ (ECHR Blog 22 January 2013). Another case note – this time with the added significance of being about a decision not currently available in English. The decision raises a number of issues on which the Court’s view has been awaited for some time, particularly the relationship between copyright and article 10 ECHR.  However, as the note points out, it is also important in terms of new technology more generally and the long-running issue on the status of commercial speech.

Fred Campbell, ‘What Does Netflix’s Decision to Block Internet Content Tell Us About Internet Policy?‘ (Technology Liberation Front 23 January 2013).  This is a link-rich update on a story that has developed during the week, on Netflix and how it is managing/negotiating peering.  While I’m not completely convinced by the author’s framing of the issue along the lines of his long-established opposition to net neutrality rules, the issue is a serious one – and how it is resolved may affect the direction in which VOD goes – the Netflix ‘model’ is interesting, and is being replicated outside the US in related but different ways.  (See earlier post here)

David Streitfeld, ‘Keeping the Internet Safe From Governments‘ (New York Times: Bits Blog 23 January 2013). A petition to propose the US not fund the International Telecommunications Union, in protest at its alleged attempt to regulate the Internet and suppress free speech.  (One wonders how (a) withdrawing support when you don’t get your way in debate and (b) not cooperating with other states so as to ensure that telegraph, telephone, satellite and data traffic can cross borders support this cause.  I’d be the first in the queue to criticise actions of intergovernmental organisations, but the demonisation of recent ITU debates is a road we have been down before, with UNESCO and other organisations; hopefully, calmer and more constructive voices will be heard soon.  (On the other hand, if you think I’m wrong, then the petition is here. Speech for all).

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