IGF 2018 WS #433
End of Ownership, or the End of IP? Copyright Online

Organizer 1: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 1: Asta Helgadottir, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Jan Gerlach, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Peter Micek, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Debate - 60 Min


Rather than having long presentations on a subject where there is already enough available online, we will pick on a number of key themes currently under discussion - filtering of uploads for potential copyright infringement, the creation of unwaivable rights, the growing orphan works problem - in order to build a bridge between the Internet governance and copyright communities.

Asta Helgasdottir has been closely involved in the EU copyright reform, where the possibility of default filters on uploads is on the table, causing worries about privacy at home, and debate abroad.

Jan Gerlach, from the Wikimedia Foundation, follows policy and legal issues, and will focus on the difficulty of applying traditional copyright rules and concepts to an entity such as Wikipedia.

Peter Micek, from AccessNow, looks at copyright from an access and privacy point of view.

Stephen Wyber, from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, brings the view from a traditional beneficiary of copyright exceptions and limitations. He will cover in particular discussions at WIPO, where there is global discussion on the way IP should work in the modern world.


The panel, currently, is made up of one women and three men, three Europeans and one American. Now that we have the date, we will look to involve others.

The session will consist of an open discussion among the main presenters, and audience members, on a number of key issues relating to copyright in a digital world. In some cases, these are efforts to realise the opportunities for access and use that the Internet provides (i.e. text and data mining, which plays a major role in helping the development of AI), efforts to replicate the situation that exists in the analogue world (through artificial scarcity, DRM), and new, hybrid efforts, such as unwaivable remuneration, or filtering of uploads.

These questions together suggest that we are far from consensus on how copyright laws should work online. With debates ongoing nationally, regionally, and at WIPO, the session will therefore aim to encourage the engagement of the Internet governance community.

Through coordination between presenters, we will make sure to switch from one topic to the next after fixed times, in order to cover everything.

The plan is to work together as a panel. We know each other as a group, and so would take care to keep answers short in order to keep the flw.

'Modernisation' in order to respond to the realities of the digital age is often cited as a reason to reform copyright. However, the measures proposed under this heading vary strongly. Join this session to hear more about current developments, and initiatives, on copyright, the vision of the Internet they propose, and what this means for Internet users.

Online Participation

Copyright is an issue that raises significant interest, with the ongoing European reforms seeing major petition and letter-writing campaigns to MEPs. We will look to encourage this both through urging people to join online, and making full use of hashtags and others to bring the IGF to the debate. Given that the session will be organised as a coversation, we will welcome all others to join!