Liability of Internet Service Providers Across Various Countries: An Overview
Keywords:Comparison,, Countries,, Intermediary,, Online,, Punishment.
The role of I.S.P. or Intermediary is very important for effective utilization of information technology. The liability of Intermediary or I.S.P. has gain immense importance at international level. Various countries have defined the liability of I.S.P. either in the form of copyright infringement or for the infringement of information technology. Australia was the first country to enact the legislation relating to the liability aspect of I.S.P. in the form of Copyright Act, 1968 making I.S.P. liable to disable the access to online services hosted outside Australia. Some safe harbors were also provided for I.S.P. as part of the Australia - United States Free Trade Agreement. The US provides for the liability of ISP in the form of Communications Decency Act, 1996, Digital Millennium Copyright Act,1998. Title II of the D.M.C.A. specifically deals with the issue of I.S.P. liability and also provides for the penalties for unauthorized access to a copyright work. As regarding the legislations of Canada, it does not specifically defines the liability of I.S.P., instead it provides safe harbor for those ISP’s providing any means for Internet access. I.S.P.’s are also protected for copyright infringement in Canada. In Singapore the liability of I.S.P. is regulated by the Internet class license and Internet code of Practice which requires the I.S.P. to abide by the conditions of license. I.S.P.’s are also restricted to make public access of those websites which contain offensive content harmful to national interest. Japan’s Copyright Act, 1970, The Provider Liability Limitation Law 2002 protects the I.S.P. against any kind of liability for Copyright infringement. UK enacted two legislations in form of Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 Digital Economy Act 2010 which imposes the obligations on ISP to notify the infringement to its subscribers, also liable to take technical measures to terminate the Internet services after reporting of infringement. The countries also make the provisions for the penalties for offences relating to the infringement of copyright or unauthorized access of information by various I.S.P.’s or Intermediaries. The quantum of punishment is differed in every country according to the nature of offence.
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