The enforcement of copyright in the digital age has always been accompanied by a crisis that has required copyright owners to develop and perfect ever new strategies to enforce their rights. These strategies have focused on the effort to harness intermediate parties throughout the Internet to identify, remove and block artworks and users suspected of violations, through the use of legal and technological means. Recently, we have witnessed a quantum leap in the arena of Intellectual Property enforcement in cyberspace. The new enforcement campaign is designed to harness additional entities to the enforcement activities and impose a legal obligation upon intermediate bodies to use filtering and preventive technological measures which would strengthen copyright enforcement in the digital networks and entrench this enforcement regime within the architecture of the net. This is a global phenomenon that manifests itself in legislative initiatives, in voluntary agreements between the intermediate bodies and the copyright owners and in increased enforcement activity. Lately we have even witnessed increased enforcement activity in Israel, inter alia, through the Zir"a [Copyright in the Internet] organization.
The new Internet enforcement regime raises concerns about freedom of use of the net. There is no dispute that the Internet has brought about a significant increase in the illegal use of artworks. However, the net is not only an arena for the dissemination of content, it is also a commercial arena in which freedom of occupation, free competition and the rights of the consumer must be protected. The net is also an environment dedicated to creativity, culture, discourse and socialization where the autonomy of the individual, the right to privacy, freedom of expression and freedom to incorporate must be protected. Accordingly, alongside the importance of protecting Intellectual Property and the legitimate interests of copyright owners, it is also important to ensure the protection of these values. The new enforcement regime may impair these values by creating a legal reality that encourages intermediary entities to monitor and block content and users.
The research will examine the enforcement regime in Israel in relation to the obligations imposed on intermediaries involved with the Internet to deploy blocking, filtering and preventive technologies in order to enforce copyrights.
Names of researchers:
Prof. Niva Elkin-Koren
Dr. Sharon Bar-Ziv