Evaluation of the role of access providers. Discussion of Dutch Pirate Bay case law and introducing principles on directness, effectiveness, costs, relevance, and time
Meulen, N.S. van der
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Internet service providers (ISPs) play a pivotal role in contemporary society because they provide access to the Internet. The primary task of ISPs – to blindly transfer information across the network – has recently come under pressure, as has their status as neutral third parties. Both the public and the private sector have started to require ISPs to interfere with the content placed and transferred on the Internet as well as access to it for a variety of purposes, including the fight against cybercrime, digital piracy, child pornography, etc. This expanding list necessitates a critical assessment of the role of ISPs. This paper analyses the role of the access provider. Particular attention is paid to Dutch case law, in which access providers were forced to block The Pirate Bay. After analysing the position of ISPs, we will define principles that can guide the decisions of ISPs whether to take action after a request to block access based on directness, effectiveness, costs, relevance and time.