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US, NZ, Sweden, others condemn "three strikes" Internet laws


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Earlier this month we covered a UN report that argued that "three strikes" laws that deprive alleged copyright infringers of Internet access violate human rights. The report was delivered by an independent UN investigator, and so didn't represent the view of any UN member governments. Michael Geist notes that on Friday, Sweden made remarks at the UN Human Rights Council that endorsed many of the report's findings, including the criticism of "three strikes" rules. The statement was signed by 40 other nations, including the United States and Canada. The United Kingdom and France, two nations that have enacted "three strikes" regimes, did not sign the statement.

"All users should have greatest possible access to Internet-based content, applications and services," the statement said, adding that "cutting off users from access to the Internet is generally not a proportionate sanction." It also called network neutrality and Internet openness "important objectives."

Interestingly, the report is signed by New Zealand, which enacted legislation in April that sets up a special Copyright Tribunal for expediting file-sharing cases. The penalties available to the New Zealand government include Internet disconnections of up to six months.

The Swedes told the Human Rights Council that "Only in a few exceptional and limited circumstances can restrictions on content be acceptable." It said that Egyptian-style Internet shutdowns are "in violation of freedom of expression."

The statement also endorsed the UN report's arguments about the dangers of holding intermediaries liable for copyright infringement. It argued that "governments should not mandate a more restrictive standard for intermediaries than is the case with traditional media."

It endorsed a right to communicate online anonymously and underscored the importance of privacy protection, though it didn't endorse any particular approach to the issue. And it argued that "the present digital divide must be bridged to enable participation of all" online.

Other countries signing the statement include Brazil, India, Japan, Poland, and Turkey.

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If they actually follow what they are saying, what has happened is great. :)

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They condemn the 3-strikes, but burn your ass in court so badly you'll be bankrupt for the rest of your life, if they catch you p2p-ing a few songs.

I'm curious though where I can find the list of the countries that signed this.

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Austria, Bosnia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Lithuania, fmr Yugoslav Rep of Macedonia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palestine, Peru, Poland, Senegal, South Africa, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United States, Uruguay.

First link in the article. :)

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Oh. Thanks. It's clear that Romania's representative was drunk or something, or s/he would otherwise be up for duty kissing USA ass.

Or s/he was conflicted about the balance: is US counting more than UK+France? Deciding whose ass to kiss is a hard and honourable duty.

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