Access to Knowledge: a guide for everyone Page: 55
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2.3. IP enforcement
banking, their family.., it is, in short, a gross infringement of their hu-
man right to communicate. Indeed, the results of a global BBC survey,
released in 2010, reveal that almost four in five people around the world
believe that access to the Internet is a fundamental right.52
It is also indiscriminate, because the action taken affects not only the
alleged offender, but often an entire household (or in the event of an
offence committed using a public Internet connection, an even greater
number of perhaps unrelated users). In the case of private graduated re-
sponse regimes, this penalty is imposed without the due process safe-
guards that the law would provide under a legislated system.
Graduated response programmes can also raise privacy issues, in that
aside from terminating the Internet connection of a subscriber, the ISP
may also be asked by the content owner to disclose the personal infor-
mation of the alleged offender.
In a number of European countries attempts to implement a grad-
uated response programme have led to court cases to establish under
which circumstances an ISP may provide subscriber data to the content
industry. Using such ISP subscriber information the content industry
has sought to hold the end-user responsible for all illegal activity con-
nected to his or her IP address. (An IP address is assigned to all Internet-
connected computers, but will often change as many ISPs allocate them
from a pool of addresses as needed.)
In 2005 a Dutch court ordered ISPs in the Netherlands to not divulge
subscriber information because of the way the Dutch content industry
group had collected the IP addresses. However, in April 2008, the Bun-
destag (German parliament) approved a new law requiring ISPs to di-
vulge the identity of those alleged of infringing on a commercial scale.53
2.3.4 Enforcement through criminal law
Another means by which IP laws are being more aggressively enforced is
by expanding the range of infringements that attract criminal penalties.
Indeed, some acts that are not IP infringements at all are being targetted
with criminal sanctions.
This agenda is being pushed through a variety of parallel mechanisms
including ACTA, FTAs, and the Special 301 Report, as well as at a national
and regional level.
52 British Broadcasting Corporation, Four in Five Regard InternetAccess as a Fundamen-
talRight: GlobalPoll. 2010 (URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/08_03
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Noronha, Frederick & Malcolm, Jeremy. Access to Knowledge: a guide for everyone, text, 2010; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33297/m1/65/: accessed December 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .