The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School is a leader in the study of the law and policy around the Internet and other emerging technologies.
When someone wants to remove speech from the Internet, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) notice and takedown process can provide the quickest path. This has made copyright law a tempting tool for unscrupulous censors. As content companies push for even more control over what gets posted online, it’s important to remember that any tool used to police copyright will quickly be abused, then adapted, to censor speech more widely.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s political fortunes may be waning in Britain, but her push to make internet companies police their users’ speech is alive and well. In the aftermath of the recent London attacks, Ms. May called platforms like Google and Facebook breeding grounds for terrorism.
These comments were prepared and submitted in response to the U.S. Copyright Office's November 8, 2016 Notice of Inquiry requesting additional public comment on the impact and effectiveness of the DMCA safe harbor provisions in Section 512 of Title 17
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is at it again. In a joint open letter to Congress, it is leading a push by the music industry to rewrite Internet copyright law in ways similar to its advocacy of the infamous Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) of 2012. SOPA failed miserably in Congress. It was abandoned after more than 15 million Americans objected to the bill’s attempt to restrict Internet freedom as 115,000 websites staged a massive blackout online.
"The Recorder affiliate Legaltech News recently caught up with one of the forefront experts in both DMCA and automated notice sending, Annemarie Bridy, a University of Idaho College of Law professor who also works with Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society. LTN picked her brain about out of control bots, DMCA takedowns’ potential threat to freedom of speech and more. The conversation has been condensed for clarity.
"But Canada’s Supreme Court has flipped this script with its globally-binding ruling. Daphne Keller, a director of Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society, called it “much more far reaching than most” in an email.
"“[The database] is definitely responsive to what’s going on in Europe,” says Danielle Citron, a law professor at the University of Maryland, who specializes in cyber law and harassment. “What you’re finding is just a manifestation of this code of conduct from May, coupled with pressure from the United Kingdom and European Union.”"
"Social media sites often walk a "delicate line" with moderation, said University of Washington law professor Ryan Calo. "The key thing to understand is that a platform like YouTube makes their decisions against the backdrop of our free speech principles and culture, but they are not bound by those principles," he said. A site's own policies typically take precedence."
""The idea that copyright is a tool that's going to be used to censor speech we don't like ... that's very dangerous," said Julie Ahrens, director of copyright and fair use at Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society. "It is a pretty stunning decision.""