The Graduated Response System in the Digital Economy Act 2010 Compatibility with fundamental rights
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Copyright owners face many difficulties when trying to protect and enforce their rights on the internet. Finding efficient solutions to combat online piracy without restricting valuable rights of internet users is a big challenge for lawmakers. One approach to the problem are so-called Graduated Response Systems which aim at reducing copyright infringement in peer-to-peer file sharing networks. In the UK such a Graduated Response System was introduced by the Digital Economy Act 2010. The system, which is not enforced yet, provides for several steps in reaction to copyright infringement in peer-to-peer networks and obliges internet service providers to take an active role in the enforcement of copyright. This paper presents the highly controversial British Graduated Response System and assesses its compatibility with fundamental rights. In this context, also the question of whether access to the internet is a fundamental right or protected by a fundamental right which the Graduated Response System might unjustifiably limit will be examined.