Chapter 5 explores the challenge presented to copyright by digital convergence and the Internet. It discusses the debate between those arguing for a less restrictive approach in the digital era and those pointing to the need to tackle not just rampant piracy but also legal ‘free-riding’ on a scale that threatens to undermine the business models of the creative industries. The chapter suggests that policy makers in Europe appear to have been more energetic than those in the US about seeking to make technology companies more responsible for what their users upload. However, so far on both sides of the Atlantic the interests of the new technology giants and policy makers’ concern for ‘the free market’ appear to have generally prevailed over cultural and culture-industry interests. A key obstacle to strengthening protection for copyright has been widespread popular concerns about protecting privacy and internet access as a human right.
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