Disconnecting File-Sharers Violates Human Rights, Says UN

Brad Chacos

Creative associations and ISPs have been trying to cast copyright-infringing file-sharers as digital boogeymen for years now. They've also been lobbying for a version of the Internet based around baseball: three copyright violation strikes and you're out of the Internet, cut off not just from P2P but also Twitter, email and MaximumPC.com. "Hold your horses," says a special report by the UN’s Human Rights Council. Apparently, three-strikes-style laws aren't just a ridiculous overreaction, they're a violation of human rights.

"The Special Rapporteur considers cutting off users from Internet access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," Torrent Freak cites.

Bam! Take that, draconian file-sharing laws. Frank La Rue, the author of the report, specifically calls out existing French and English legislation. He suggests that governments need to relax, take a chill pill and remember that they're supposed to look out for the rights of their citizens as well as economic interests.

The UN’s Human Rights Council is scheduled to officially adopt "The Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression" today. Try saying that three times fast!

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