Deep Pockets, Packets & Harbours: Never the Three Shall Meet
20 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2013 Last revised: 29 Mar 2014
Date Written: July 19, 2013
Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) is a set of methodologies used for the analysis of data flow over the Internet. It is the intention of this paper to describe technical details of this issue and to show that by using DPI technologies it is possible to understand the content of Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol communications. This communications can carry public available content, private users information, legitimate copyrighted works, as well as infringing copyrighted works.
Legislation in many jurisdictions regarding Internet service providers’ liability, or more generally the liability of communication intermediaries, usually contains “safe harbour” provisions. The World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty of 1996 has a short but significant provision excluding liability for suppliers of physical facilities. The provision is aimed at communication to the public and the facilitation of physical means. Its extensive interpretation to cases of contributory or vicarious liability, in absence of specific national implementation, can prove problematic. Two of the most relevant legislative interventions in the field, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the European Directive on Electronic Commerce, regulate extensively the field of intermediary liability. This paper looks at the relationship between existing packet inspection technologies, especially the ‘deep version,’ and the international and national legal and regulatory interventions connected with intellectual property protection and with the correlated liabilities ‘exemptions. In analyzing the referred two main statutes, we will take a comparative look at similar interventions in Australia and Canada that can offer some interesting elements of reflection.
Keywords: Online liability, safe harbours, ISPs, Deep Packet Inspection, intellectual property, copyright, privacy
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