Regulation on internet intermediary liability answers the question: should internet intermediaries, ISPs, web hosting and cloud services, social media platforms and so on, be liable for the content posted on that platform?

There are varying degrees of adoption of regulation on internet intermediary liability around the world. In the U.S. there has been a law for over 20 years which considers internet intermediaries largely as conduits of information, not its generators, and thus provides them with certain immunities, or a so-called “safe harbor," from the content their users post. Europe and China on the other hand have passed laws that put more liability on the platforms themselves.

 

A number of emerging markets and developing nations have already adopted safe harbor laws, including Brazil and Chile, which we will learn more about in this webinar where Peter Lovelock, Director at Fair Tech Institute, Access Partnership, moderates a discussion with Nathalia Almeida de Souza Lobo, Director of the Telecommunications Policy and Regulatory Monitoring Department at the Ministry of Communications in Brazil and Nicolas Schubert, the Head of the Department of Digital Economy, Undersecretariat of International Economic Affairs in Chile.

 

Nathalia Almeida de Souza Lobo discusses the background Brazil's 2014 internet law, the Marco Civil da Internet. While drafting this law, it was critical for the government to take contributions from civil society, private sector, academics, specialists, and common citizens interested in the subject. The goal was to craft regulation that would not undermine new business models and innovations, but also would safeguard users' privacy, data protection, net neutrality, stability, privacy, free competition, and freedom of speech. 

 

Nicolas Schubert discusses Chile's enactment of two laws in 2010- a major overhaul to the country's Copyright Law in accordance with the bilateral agreement with the U.S., and a law that implemented net neutrality. The idea was to enact a non discrimination rule in the legal system that says ISPs or other intermediaries cannot discriminate against the data on their platforms and instead implemented a court-ordered notice and takedown system. One of the main elements that was kept in mind while drafting these regulations was to provide a core legal framing that would encourage a global open internet that doesn’t discriminate against digital products.

 

Both panelists agree that having a multi-stakeholder approach is essential when drafting a framework for internet intermediary liability, with representation from the start from civil society, academia, the technical community and the business community. It is also vital to have a clear understanding of the objectives to ensure all stakeholders are speaking the same language, and a clear understanding of the holistic effect the framework will have on businesses, citizens, and the economy.