Jaani Riordan recently gave a talk, hosted by Allen & Overy, to the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property. Jaani was part of a panel commenting on recent developments in case law, legislation and regulation concerning intermediaries.
The internet has revolutionised many aspects of life, indeed it has become an integral part of many people’s lives. Much that the internet enables is beneficial – it allows for the sharing of information at an instant, and on a global scale, and has transformed commerce. In the wrong hands, the internet can also be used to cause harm, whether to provide ready access to counterfeit or pirate content, to spread terrorist propaganda or to harm or bully the most vulnerable in society. The rise of social media, in particular, has played an integral part in enabling the dissemination of such material.
Legislation recognised some years ago that intermediaries will, in many cases, be best placed to bring infringing activities to an end. As new technologies have developed this has raised many questions as to the responsibilities that should be borne by online intermediaries. What is the extent of their responsibilities and how are these to be given effect as legal duties? In what circumstances should the intermediary face monetary or non-monetary liability for infringing activities? To what extent does regulation provide an answer? Panellists Frederick Mostert, Rachel Alexander and Jaani Riordan discussed the latest developments in this field, and considered whether consensus is being reached by relevant stakeholders or whether interested parties continue to operate in a parallel universe.