Sticks and Stones Will Break My Euros: The Role of EU Law in Dealing with Cyber-Bullying through Sysop-Prerogative

Sticks and Stones Will Break My Euros: The Role of EU Law in Dealing with Cyber-Bullying through Sysop-Prerogative

Jonathan Bishop (Centre for Research into Online Communities and E-Learning Systems, Wales, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6324-4.ch027
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

“Sticks and Stones” is a well-known adage that means that whatever nasty things people say, they will not physically harm one. This is not often the case, as bullying, especially via the Internet, can be quite harmful. There are few anti-bullying laws emanating from the European Union, which is a trading block of 28 member states that have pooled their sovereignty in order to have common laws and practices to boost trade and peace. However, the common legal rules that exist in the EU have implications for those who run websites, including relating to cyber-bullying. These people, known as systems operators, or sysops, can be limited in the powers they have and rules they make through “sysop prerogative.” Sysop prerogative means that a systems operator can do anything which has been permitted or not taken away by statute, or which they have not given away by contract. This chapter reviews how the different legal systems in Europe impact on sysops and change the way in which sysop prerogative can be exercised. This includes not just from the EU legal structure, but equally the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which also has implications for sysops in the way they conduct their activities.
Chapter Preview
Top

Background

The European Union as it is today is founded on the Treaty of Rome, which has been amended a number of times since the Single European Act in the 1980s. Since this re-negotiation of powers of the EU by Margaret Thatcher, there have been several re-negotiations of power, including one under John Major, three under Tony Blair and two under Gordon Brown. Further such re-negotiations have been promised by David Cameron. The common progression among all four leaders prior to David Cameron was a movement to a single legal identity for the European Union rather than the existence of various 'pillars.’ This creation of a legal person subsequently led to the EU being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize under David Cameron.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Sysop Prerogative: In common law systems, the right a systems operator has to make a rule on something which hasn’t been taken from them by statute, or given away by them through contract. In civil code systems the right a systems operator has to make a rule of something which has been granted to them by law and not given away by them through contract.

European Convention on Human Rights: An international treaty that confers duties on its signatories to protect the rights of their citizens according to the provisions of that treaty.

Flame Trolling: Trolling for the entertainment of oneself to the detriment of others is called flame trolling.

Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union: A treaty agreed by members of the European Union to apply and go beyond the principles of the European Convention on Human Rights in relation to EU members.

European Union: A trading block of 28 independent countries who pool their sovereignty in order to cooperate for mutual benefit.

European Court of Human Rights: The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) makes decision arising out of claimed breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Kudos Trolling: Trolling for the mutual entertainment of others is called kudos trolling.

Sysop: A person who runs a website or online community is called a systems operator (i.e. sysop for short).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset