The Constitutional Protection for the Internet Expands

04 March 2002

Jim Runsten

The Swedish government proposes that the automatically constitutional protection that covers the database activities of today's media companies shall be extended to include new technologies. According to the present position books, publications and technical recordings as a general rule has to be produced in more than a few editions at the time. A smaller edition produced out of any of these formats is therefore under normal circumstances not protected by constitutional law. The bill proposes that the constitutional law shall be extended to cover among others "print on demand" i.e. a personalised request for a unique edition, image and other content transferred from a database. An example could be one single edition ordered from a bookstore online.

Furthermore the Swedish government also proposes that e.g. publishing houses and printers shall be protected.

The government also suggests that other entities, e.g. magazines that are only published on the Internet, so called E-zines, shall be offered an unsolicited constitutional protection. To receive such an unsolicited protection the publisher has to appoint an editor and also apply and be granted a publishing certificate. The publishing certificate will only be possible to achieve for transfers from databases placed physically in Sweden.

As a consequence of the introduced bill the government suggests that the Freedom of the Press Act is amended to penalise unlawful threats in order to enable interventions towards underground magazines and other media of that kind.

For further information visit:

http://www.sweden.gov.se/legislation/legislation_govbills.htm

(Government Bill 2000/01:74)