United Nations Report: File-Sharing Disconnections Violate Human Rights

June 3, 2011 -

The United Nations adopted a report today that says that disconnecting file-sharers from the Internet is a violation of human rights. The Report of the Special Rapporteur was published in May. The report focused on the protection of freedom of opinion and expression, and moves by various governments to take away an individual’s Internet access.

"While blocking and filtering measures deny users access to specific content on the Internet, States have also taken measures to cut off access to the Internet entirely," read the report.

The report goes on to say that various anti-file-sharing laws violate international law:

"The Special Rapporteur considers cutting off users from Internet access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."

In case you are wondering, here is what Article 19 says:

Article 19
1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;

(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.

The report goes on to say that governments throughout the world should maintain Internet access during times of "political unrest" and urged them to change copyright laws that take away citizens' rights to Internet access.

"This also includes legislation based on the concept of ‘graduated response’, which imposes a series of penalties on copyright infringers that could lead to suspension of Internet service, such as the so-called 'three-strikes-law' in France and the Digital Economy Act 2010 of the United Kingdom," notes the report.

"In particular, the Special Rapporteur urges States to repeal or amend existing intellectual copyright laws which permit users to be disconnected from Internet access, and to refrain from adopting such laws," the report adds.

The United Kingdom’s Digital Economy Act and France’s Hadopi legislation are cited as prime examples of laws that have provisions to remove Internet access.

Source: TorrentFreak


Comments

Re: United Nations Report: File-Sharing Disconnections ...

Ultimately no one should be blocked or sued for file sharing, however if you are making a profit off it(which circles around making money off adds,links and indexing), hang them high. Its that simple people it really is. But how to separate normal searches from sharing sites will be so very not easy...


I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

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Re: United Nations Report: File-Sharing Disconnections ...

I don't pay much heed to what the UN says human rights are or aren't as a matter of principle because I distrust the whole concept of "international law" as it's being put forward these days. I am opposed to the idea of a one-world government, no matter how democratic it is.

So .... maybe I'm too picky, but I would be happier with this if the UN just said they thought disconnecting peoples internet because of file sharing was wrong and left it at that. I dunno if home Internet access is a fundametnal human right; that seems kinda dodgy to me. But disconnecting peoples internet over this is bad policy.

BTW this post is totally on-subject as this is a poitical event which impacts intellectual property policy which impacts all commercial creative endeavors which includes video games

Re: United Nations Report: File-Sharing Disconnections ...

For what it's worth, the United States has ratified the ICCPR. So regardless of your view of international law, Article VI, Clause 2 of the US Constitution could come into play within American jurisdiction.

What's really fun is that this is based off Article 19, paragraph 3 of the treaty, which the Senate explicitly stated during ratification was of a greater priority than anything else in the treaty.

Re: United Nations Report: File-Sharing Disconnections ...

Ok, even more interesting:

The US ratified the ICCPR, but, to my knowledge, has only signed, but not ratified, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which, ironically, has Article 19 which reads:

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

I am curious as to why there seem to be so many duplicate documents and such out there, basically saying the same thing.  This ICCPR is a new document to me.  And, oddly enough, while learning about documents such as the US Constitution and its Amendments, I don't recall ever being taught about documents such as the ICCPR OR the UDHR.

Follow up:  Just looked up the ICCPR and apparently both the ICCPR and the UDHR are part of a larger document, the International Bill of Human Rights.  So my question about the US ratifying one part of that overall document but only signing the other continues in a confused state.  And the fact that these documents, for the most part, came into being prior to my birth and went into effect while I was still in grade school, yet I was never educated about them (despite attending a school for the blind for the majority of my life, you'd think this would still be included in SOME cirriculum).

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: United Nations Report: File-Sharing Disconnections ...

They are not saying that internet access is a fundamental right. THey are saying denying people an avenue of free speech is a human rights violation.

E. Zachary Knight
Divine Knight Gaming

Re: United Nations Report: File-Sharing Disconnections ...

Interesting story, especially given that the U.S. is one of the biggest players in the UN.  Then again, the UN doesn't exactly have teeth.

Side note:  Not quite sure what this article has to do with video games.  If I can't search and find a reference to the word "game" or the phrase "video games" in the body of the article, then it probably shouldn't be published until there is such a reference.

- Left4Dead

Why are zombies always eating brains? I want to see zombies that eat toes for a living. Undead-related pun intended.

- Left4Dead Why are zombies always eating brains? I want to see zombies that eat toes for a living. Undead-related pun intended.

Re: United Nations Report: File-Sharing Disconnections ...

Video games can be file shared.  Simple.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: United Nations Report: File-Sharing Disconnections ...

Also, video games can be played over the internet. I think that is the more pertinent issue.

E. Zachary Knight
Divine Knight Gaming

Re: United Nations Report: File-Sharing Disconnections ...

I'm always surprised when it appears that someone has our back - a phenomenon that was already becoming increasingly rare. Will Sarkozy admit he's wrong because the United Nations says so? probably not but I can't wait to hear the retorts from the MPAA/RIAA/3-strikes crowd talking about how disappointed they are in the United Nations. haha, actually i'm sure they will keep quiet about this one.

 
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Andrew EisenYou have to try to purchase something first. Pick a game, hit purchase and if your wallet doesn't have enough to cover it, you'll be given an option to "add exact funds" or something like that.09/23/2014 - 2:05pm
MonteI have seen no option for that on my 3DS; anytime i want to add funds it only gives me the option to add in denominations of $10, 20, 50 or 10009/23/2014 - 2:03pm
IanCWhat Andrew Wilson said. PSN is the same when you make a purchase over a certain price (£5 in the UK)09/23/2014 - 2:02pm
Andrew EisenNeither eShop charges sales tax either. At least in California.09/23/2014 - 2:00pm
Andrew EisenBoth Wii U and 3DS eShops allow you to add funds in the exact amount of whatever's in your shopping cart. If your game is $39.99, you can add exactly $39.99.09/23/2014 - 1:57pm
Infophile@Matthew Wilson: As I understand it, any regulations to force tax online would also set up an easy database for these stores to use, minimizing overhead.09/23/2014 - 1:30pm
MonteReally, the eshop just does next to nothing to make buying digitally advantagous for the customer. Its nice to have the game on my 3DS, but i can get more for less buying a physical copy at retail. And that's not even counting buying used09/23/2014 - 1:18pm
MonteIanC, The Eshop wallet system only lets you add funds in set denominations and the tax makes sure you no longer have round numbers so you ALWAYS loose money. A $39.99 game for instance requires you to add $50 instead of just $4009/23/2014 - 1:13pm
Matthew Wilsonbut thats just it those sites, even the small ones, sell all over the country.09/23/2014 - 11:12am
Neenekoeither that or it would follow the car model of today. big ticket items are taxed according to your residence, not where you buy them.09/23/2014 - 11:07am
NeenekoI doubt it would be the retailer that handles the tax in the first place. If it goes through it would probably be folded in as a service on the processor end or via 'turbotax' style applications.09/23/2014 - 11:05am
Matthew Wilsonsimple there are over 10k tax areas in the us for sales tax. it would be impossible for small online retailers to handle that.09/23/2014 - 10:55am
IanCWhats wrong with charging tax in an online shop?09/23/2014 - 10:47am
E. Zachary KnightI don't see why it would be that difficult to maintain one. Especially for a news outlet with multiple people on the payroll.09/23/2014 - 9:37am
Matthew Wilsonthey can, but will they? more inportantly will the traditional sites be willing to do the extra work to maintain the list?09/23/2014 - 9:02am
E. Zachary KnightSo how will it reduce the power of the traditional games press? They can create curated stores too.09/23/2014 - 8:39am
Matthew WilsonI think its a good thing, but it does mean traditional games press will have less power than ever before. To be fair most of the gaming press were never big on pc gaming anyways.09/23/2014 - 8:33am
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, is that a bad or good thing?09/23/2014 - 7:43am
MechaTama31When you say "youtuber", I picture some sort of customizable potato...09/22/2014 - 10:48pm
Matthew Wilsonthis change will only give youtubers more power.09/22/2014 - 9:54pm
 

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