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Professor Danny Friedmann was Invited to Give Keynote Address about Intermediary Liability

Recently in August, Professor Danny Friedmann was invited to be the keynote speaker at the “Intellectual Property Rights: Dynamics of Copyright Laws and Emerging Challenges” webinar. The webinar was organized by the Department of Management Studies at the Salesian College’s Siliguri Campus and was in collaboration with the Internal Quality Assurance Cell (“IQAC”) also located in Siliguri, West Bengal, India.

In his speech, Professor Friedmann talked about Schumpeter’s creative destruction, which is activated by the EU Directive 2019/790 on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market. The term creative destruction was first coined by Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter in 1942 and typically delineates technologies that disrupt the status quo and consequently introduce a new era of innovation. The speech revolved around the question of the implications of strict liability in an era of massive online infringements. Professor Friedmann pointed out that the Directive “shows the end of the safe harbours, which made online service providers  look the other way in case of copyright infringement and ushered in the beginning of strict liability.”

Professor Friedmann then mentioned the case of the US and the EU stating that “we are approaching an era of algorithmic fair use, exceptions and limitations” which should make us reconsider the implications of strict liability.  

Talking about the current situation in China, he indicated that giant companies, such as Alibaba and Baidu, are expected to take action and promote the development of strict liability protection. More specifically, they can effectively develop their machines’ deep learning, which may allow the platforms to better detect and identify infringements. Legally, this will assist in shifting China’s duty of care “from an obligation to take appropriate reasonable measures in case of specific knowledge to an obligation to take reasonable measures in case of general knowledge”. The real-life implication of this legal shift will be encouraging platforms to proactively monitor and filter pirated works and counterfeit goods off of their servers.