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OECD Releases Open Internet Framework

in Intellectual Property/International/Net Neutrality by

WASHINGTON July 6, 2011- The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released the Communiqué on Principles for Internet Policy Making last week, presenting a new framework of policies that will promote open internet regulations while still protecting the rights of content makers.

The OECD is an international organization composed of 34 governments with a goal of promoting democracy and expanding market economies.

The OECD developed the Communiqué in conjunction with the representatives from Egypt, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee, Internet Technical Community, and key stakeholders such as Alcatel-Lucent and Verizon Communications. The Communiqué builds upon the 2008 Seoul Declaration on the Future of the Internet Economy.

“The OECD agreement is a major achievement that will support the continued innovation and growth of the global Internet economy,” said National Telecommunications and Information Administration Administrator Lawrence Strickling in a statement last week. “This announcement also reflects a growing global consensus on the value of the multi-stakeholder approach towards addressing Internet challenges, an approach that remains critical to the Internet’s success.”

The Communiqué aims to expand existing open Internet principals and to ensure the rights of users around the globe. It recommends that governments promote the rights of users and encourage the free flow information, but also to protect children, personal data and intellectual property rights.

Many of the principles advocated by the Communiqué are similar to those included in the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order, such as allowing the freedom to connect lawful devices.

Many privacy and consumer advocacy groups oppose the recommendation that governments limit access and transmission rights to reduce illegal content sharing. The Communiqué suggests that governments allow Internet service providers or other intermediaries enforce existing intellectual property laws.

“Any principles adopted should ensure the protection of international human rights standards that seek to protect freedom of expression and association on the Internet, as well as the rule of law – rather than supporting overbroad copyright enforcement measures that violate international human rights standards,” said Katitza Rodriguez, the International Rights Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The Civil Society Information Society Advisory Council (CSISAC), a coalition of more than 80 civil society groups from across the globe that provide input into the development of OECD, also refused to endorse the Communiqué. The CSISAC released a statement that said, “The Communiqué does not adequately address foundational principles that are integral to the openness of the Internet such as network neutrality and open standards.”

The Communiqué also recommended that governments should promote the demand for broadband in order to spur the creation of new networks. “Public policies should help foster a diversity of content, platforms, applications, online services, and other user communication tools that will create demand for networks and services, as well as to allow users to fully benefit from those networks and services and to access a diversity of content, on nondiscriminatory terms, including the cultural and linguistic content of their choice.”

“The Communiqué is an important deliverable on the U.S.’s open Internet agenda. The U.S. asked for this summit to continue building global norms that nurture the open Internet and increase economic prosperity around the world,” said U.S. Ambassador to the OECD Karen Kornbluh.

The full Communiqué can be found here.

Rahul Gaitonde has been writing for since the fall of 2009, and in May of 2010 he became Deputy Editor. He was a fellow at George Mason University’s Long Term Governance Project, a researcher at the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology and worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University, where his research focused on the economic and social benefits of broadband expansion. He has written extensively about Universal Service Fund reform, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and the Broadband Data Improvement Act

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