Kaare M. Risung
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According to the proposal, copyright holders should be able to seek a court order to impose a provider of electronic communication services to hand over information which identifies a subscriber who can be connected to a copyright infringement. If imposed, the provider shall notify the court when submitting such information to the copyright holder. The provider shall also notify the subscriber one month after submitting the information. A copy of the notification is to be sent to the court simultaneously. The case shall not be made known to the public until at least one month after the information has been submitted and the subscriber has been notified, or more than six months have passed since the case was closed.
Secondly, pursuant to the proposal, copyright holders should be able to apply to the Media Authority, or a court, to order a provider of electronic communication services to prevent access to a website where copyrighted material is being made available to a "great extent", evidently infringing copyright or other rights.
Thirdly, copyright holders processing of personal data relating to infringement of copyrights should be license exempted pursuant to the Personal Data Act, when such processing by the copyright holder is necessary to establish, assert or defend a legal claim.
The proposals raise several concerns. The Data Protection Agency has pointed out that illegal file-sharing can be reduced by means of more user friendly services for downloading and streaming of copyrighted protected materials. Such an approach may raise less privacy concerns than the current proposal from the Ministry of Culture.
Further, the Data Protection Agency has pointed out that the proposal fails to take into account the possibility that the subscriber may be innocent because of other's use of the subscriber's wireless networks. The proposal that the subscriber shall be notified one month after the submission of the information, may also raise concerns for families or other groups who use wireless networks at home. For instance it may be difficult to remember who used the Internet at the relevant time and to provide evidence for the past 4-5 weeks after the incident, notwithstanding the wireless network being open or protected.
The Data Protection Agency has also emphasized that an open Internet and an opportunity for free communication on the Internet are the foundation of freedom of speech. Thus, it should be questioned whether blocking of Internet sites is a method that should be used in all cases where the conditions for copyright infringement is fulfilled (cf. "great extent"), regardless of the type of copyright and the purpose behind the violation.