Accountable, Not Liable: How Injunctions Against Intermediaries Change Intermediary Liability In Europe

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In Europe, even law abiding Internet intermediaries can be sued in private lawsuits by intellectual property right holders in order to provide them with some ‘extra assistance’ in enforcement of their rights. The law increasingly forces intermediaries to work for the right owners by making them accountable even if they are not (tortiously) liable for actions of their users. Thus even intermediaries who diligently deal with illegitimate content on their services can be still subject to a forced cooperation to a benefit of right holders, such as website-blocking or subscriber-disconnections. This talk explores how this novel entitlement of right holders, which is being gradually exported also outside of the EU, impacts traditional allocation of liability under tort-law, human rights of third parties and future innovation.

Martin Husovec is a IMPRS-CI Doctoral Research Fellow at Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Affiliate Scholar at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet & Society (CIS) and Impact Litigator at European Information Society Institute (EISi), an independent non-profit organization based in Slovakia focusing on the overlap of technology, law & society.

Martin maintains a well-known blog – Huťko´s Technology Law Blog – devoted to technology, internet law, copyright & industrial rights in the European Union. He is an author of a leading open access book on intermediary liability law in Slovakia and Czech republic. His scholarship previously appeared in the journals such as JIPITEC, JIPLP and IIC and includes papers: “The End of (Meta) Search Engines in Europe?”, “Injunctions Against Innocent Third Parties: Case of Website Blocking” and “Much Ado About Little: Privately Litigated Internet Disconnection Injunctions” (co-authored). In the field of intermediary liability research, he cooperates internationally as a member of the Takedown Project of UC Berkeley Law and the American Assembly, and the The World Intermediary Liability Map (WILMap) of CIS.

His work within EISi was instrumental in several strategic litigations in Europe. Martin authored numerous amicus curiae briefs related to copyright and Internet policy before the Slovak and Czech courts, a constitutional review of the data retention laws before the Slovak Constitutional Court and an intervention before the European Court of Human Rights in a landmark intermediary liability case – Delfi AS v. Estonia.

Martin also advises the Slovak Industrial Property Office on the issues of Internet enforcement and is a member of the European Commission Expert Group on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights.

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