The Supreme Court of Canada [official website] on Thursday ruled [judgment] that a tariff imposed on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that allow media downloads is a violation of the technological neutrality. The court held that in passing the Copyright Act [text] the Parliament did not intend to treat online retailers of digital media differently than stores that sell physical copies of the same product. In its decision, the court ruled that the tariff, imposed by the Canadian Copyright Board, treats digital retailers differently than physical stores, in violation of the principle. The court concluded that imposing tariffs for online transmissions of data creates unnecessary excess costs on a more efficient and convenient method of conducting a transaction.
International concern over Internet freedom has risen recently as people increasingly rely on technology for communication. The UN Human Rights Council last week passed its first-ever resolution to protect the free speech [JURIST report] of individuals online. The resolution was approved by all 47 members of the council, including China and Cuba, which have been criticized for limiting Internet freedom. Last month the Chinese Ministry of Information and Technology revealed its proposed changes to Chinese Internet law [JURIST report] that seek to limit the ability of users to post anonymous comments on micro-blogs and forums. A Bangkok criminal court in May sentenced [JURIST report] Chiranuch Premchaiporn, webmaster of independent Internet news site Prachatai, to an eight-month suspended sentence for failing to delete defamatory comments against Thailand's royal family. Earlier that month, a Dutch court ordered [JURIST report] Internet service providers in the Netherlands to block the file-sharing website The Pirate Bay or else pay a fine of USD $12,750 per day.