Copyright and the three-step test: Are broadband levies too good to be true?
In response to the explosion of unlicensed sharing of films, songs and other copyrighted material over the Internet through peer-to-peer networks, several legal scholars have argued for the introduction of a statutory licence scheme to legalize the non-commercial use of peer-to-peer systems. Under this licence scheme, rights holders would be compensated by imposing a levy on peer-to-peer related services and products, such as Internet service providers. This article argues that the introduction of the proposed statutory licence would not comply with the first two steps of the three-step test as included in several intellectual property treaties, such as the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). The statutory licence scheme is too wide in its scope, in regard to the number and types of work covered. Furthermore, the exempted acts (ie file sharing) would compete with the normal exploitation of works by the copyright industry.