2016-07-21: Global Chokepoints is no longer maintained.
Global Chokepoints is an online resource created to document and monitor global proposals to turn Internet intermediaries into copyright police. These proposals harm Internet users’ rights of privacy, due process and freedom of expression, and endanger the future of the free and open Internet. Our goal is to provide accurate empirical information to digital activists and policy makers, and help coordinate international opposition to attempts to cut off free expression through misguided copyright laws, policies, agreements and court cases. Scroll down to see a list of countries currently featured for threatening free expression through copyright censorship.
About Global Chokepoints
The Internet offers the potential to provide unprecedented global access to the collective knowledge of all humankind. But that potential is threatened by intellectual property (IP) rightsholders who are pressuring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other such Internet intermediaries to enforce overbroad IP laws. These Internet intermediaries are vital in facilitating access to information.
As countries adopt new copyright laws aimed at increasing the legal liability of Internet intermediaries, it is clear that they are creating new global standards with as little scrutiny as possible. These proposals raise significant concerns for citizens’ privacy, due process, and freedom of expression rights, as they threaten to restrict the free and open Internet. Global Chokepoints is a comprehensive online resource that will document and monitor these new copyright proposals on a country-by-country basis. Our goal is to give civil society members a clear understanding about the laws being discussed and who they can contact to affect the process. While each country has differed in its approach, four main policy proposals have emerged as the biggest threat to individual freedoms:
- Three-strikes policies and laws that require Internet intermediaries to terminate their users’ Internet access on repeat allegations of copyright infringement
- Requirements for Internet intermediaries to filter all Internet communications for potentially copyright-infringing material
- ISP obligations to block access to websites that allegedly infringe or facilitate copyright infringement
- Efforts to force intermediaries to disclose the identities of their customers to IP rightsholders on an allegation of copyright infringement.
As both the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression and the European Court of Justice have recognized, these initiatives harm Internet users’ rights of privacy, due process and freedom of expression, and endanger the future of the free and open Internet.
By forcing intermediaries to become much more than service providers, many of these proposals attempt to make Internet intermediaries the sole arbiter and enforcer of the law instead of courts and judges, thereby impairing due process rights. Many ISPs will simply not have the knowledge or resources to evaluate the inherent risks of these decisions and will therefore be more likely to act conservatively to avoid any potential liability at the expense of users’ rights.
Global Chokepoints will shine sunlight on these proposals and empower civil society with both the knowledge and support to enact strong definitive reform. The site include links to digital rights organizations, consumer groups, law school clinics and technology industry groups that are opposing the spread of overbroad copyright policing efforts, and national advocacy campaigns to protect the free and open Internet and citizens’ fundamental rights.
What follows is a list of insightful, interesting, or influential Internet intermediary liability policy documents.
- Report to the UN General Assembly Human Rights Council, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, June 2011
- Joint Declaration on Freedom of Expression and the Internet, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media, the Organization of American States (OAS) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expressionand Access to Information, June 2011
- Role and Responsibility of Internet intermediaries in the field of Copyright and Related Rights, Prof. Lillian Edwards, June 2011 (This updates a 2005 WIPO report prepared by Lillian Edwards and Charlotte Waelde, which is now fairly outdated)
- Internet Society, Discussion Paper, Perspectives on Policy Responses to Online Copyright Infringement – An Evolving Policy Landscape [PDF] (February 2011)
- Global Trends in Online Copyright Enforcement: A Non-Neutral Role for Network Intermediaries? Jeremy DeBeer and Christopher Clemmer, (2010)
- Comparative Analysis of the National Approaches to the Liability of Internet Intermediaries, Associate Professor Daniel Seng, (June 2011)
- Graduated Response and the Turn to Private Ordering in Online Copyright Enforcement, Annemarie Bridy
- ACTA and the Specter of Graduated Response, Annemarie Bridy
- The Graduated Response, Peter Yu
- Graduated Response Schemes and the Rule of Law, Nic Suzor (Law Lecturer at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, and former Chair of Electronic Frontiers Australia)
- The French Copyright Authority (HADOPI), the Graduated Response, and the Disconnection of Illegal File-sharers, Nicholas Jondet (University of Edinburgh)
- Summary of OECD Experts Workshop on Internet Intermediaries (held June 16, 2010)
- EFF submission to EU e-Commerce Directive consultation, recommending judicial order framework, November 2010