• At Kemp Little, we are known for our ability to serve the very particular needs of a large but diverse technology client base. Our hands-on industry know-how makes us a good fit with many of the world's biggest technology and digital media businesses, yet means we are equally relevant to companies with a technology bias, in sectors such as professional services, financial services, retail, travel and healthcare.
  • Kemp Little specialises in the technology and digital media sectors and provides a range of legal services that are crucial to fast-moving, innovative businesses.Our blend of sector awareness, technical excellence and responsiveness, means we are regularly ranked as a leading firm by directories such as Legal 500, Chambers and PLC Which Lawyer. Our practice areas cover a wide range of legal issues and advice.
  • Our Commercial Technology team has established itself as one of the strongest in the UK. We are ranked in Legal 500, Chambers & Partners and PLC Which Lawyer, with four of our partners recommended.
  • Our team provides practical and commercial advice founded on years of experience and technical know-how to technology and digital media companies that need to be alert to the rules and regulations of competition law.
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  • At Kemp Little, we advise clients in diverse sectors where technology is fundamental to the ongoing success of their businesses.They include companies that provide technology as a service and businesses where the use of technology is key to their business model, enabling them to bring their product or service to market.
  • We bring our commercial understanding of digital business models, our legal expertise and our reputation for delivering high quality, cost-effective services to this dynamic sector.
  • Acting for market leaders and market changers within the media industry, we combine in-depth knowledge of the structural technology that underpins content delivery and the impact of digitisation on the rights of producers and consumers.
  • We understand the risks facing this sector and work with our clients to conquer those challenges. Testimony to our success is the continued growth in our team of professionals and the clients we serve.
  • We advise at the forefront of the technological intersection between life sciences and healthcare. We advise leading technology and data analytics providers, healthcare institutions as well as manufacturers of medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnological products.
  • For clients operating in the online sector, our teams are structured to meet their commercial, financing, M&A, competition and regulatory, employment and intellectual property legal needs.
  • Our focus on technology makes us especially well positioned to give advice on the legal aspects of digital marketing. We advise on high-profile, multi-channel, cross-border cases and on highly complex campaigns.
  • The mobile and telecoms sector is fast changing and hugely dependent on technology advances. We help mobile and wireless and fixed telecoms clients to tackle the legal challenges that this evolving sector presents.
  • Whether ERP, Linux or Windows; software or infrastructure as a service in the cloud, in a virtualised environment, or as a mobile or service-oriented architecture, we have the experience to resolve legal issues across the spectrum of commercial computer platforms.
  • Our clients trust us to apply our solutions and know-how to help them make the best use of technology in structuring deals, mitigating key risks to their businesses and in achieving their commercial objectives.
  • We have extensive experience of advising customers and suppliers in the retail sector on technology development, licensing and supply projects, and in advising on all aspects of procurement and online operations.
  • Our legal professionals work alongside social media providers and users in relation to the commercial, privacy, data, advertising, intellectual property, employment and corporate issues that arise in this dynamic sector.
  • Our years of working alongside diverse software clients have given us an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of the software marketplace, market practice and alternative negotiating strategies.
  • Working with direct providers of travel services, including aggregators, facilitators and suppliers of transport and technology, our team has developed a unique specialist knowledge of the sector
  • Your life as an entrepreneur is full of daily challenges as you seek to grow your business. One of the key strengths of our firm is that we understand these challenges.
  • Kemp Little is trusted by some of the world’s leading luxury brands and some of the most innovative e-commerce retailers changing the face of the industry.
  • HR Bytes is an exclusive, comprehensive, online service that will provide you with a wide range of practical, insightful and current employment law information. HR Bytes members get priority booking for events, key insight and a range of employment materials for free.
  • FlightDeck is our portal designed especially with start-up and emerging technology businesses in mind to help you get your business up and running in the right way. We provide a free pack of all the things no-one tells you and things they don’t give away to get you started.

Protecting net neutrality - an update on the recent proposals of the European Parliament

On Thursday 3 April 2014 a clear majority of the European Parliament voted in favour of measures aimed at guaranteeing the openness of the Internet. This latest ’net neutrality’ proposal, should it become law, will see Internet Service Providers (ISPs) barred from blocking or slowing down selected services for economic or other reasons. MEPs also voted to ban roaming charges for using a mobile phone in another EU country.  These moves to further open up the telecommunications market, and strengthen the EU single market principle, will put the EU at odds with the US, where a US Federal Appeals Court recently struck down rules adopted by the US Federal Communication Commission to preserve a neutral and non-discriminatory Internet.

What is net neutrality?

Network neutrality, or ‘net neutrality’, is the principle that access to internet content and applications should be “neutral”, that is “that traffic should be treated equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference, independent of the sender, receiver, type, content, device, service or application[1]. The principle is rooted in the idea that information networks, such as the internet, are most efficient and useful to the public when less focused on a particular audience and instead accommodating to multiple users.

The European Commission estimates that about 100 million people have suffered restrictions on internet usage, such as the blocking of free chat apps like Skype or WhatsApp by companies that offer rival services.

The European Proposals

The net neutrality proposal will ensure the internet remains a free and open platform for exploitation and distribution of content and facilitation of services, and will restrict ISPs in their dealings and offerings. The vote has been welcomed by EU member states, including the UK where most large ISPs already operate under a voluntary code of practice in support of the open internet, which is based on three guiding principles:

  • users should be able to access all legal content;
  • there should be no discrimination against content providers on the basis of commercial rivalry; and
  • traffic management policies should be clear and transparent.

The concept of net neutrality was previously introduced at EU level as part of the so-called “Telecoms Package”. This included provisions relating to transparency of the scope of services being subscribed for, and required ISPs to inform subscribers of any change to conditions limiting access to and/or use of services and applications and provide information of any procedures in place to measure and shape traffic[2].

The latest vote goes further to support freedom and fairness on the internet to ensure all users have equal have access to full internet products. For consumers, this means no network provider restrictions on what they can and cannot access, no charges specifically related to faster internet access, and increased consumer choice, quality of services and diversity of content. For smaller or start-up organisations, the net neutrality proposal will allow them the chance reach as great an online audience as a large, established company.

What Happens Next

As expected, the proposal is receiving pushback from ISPs and other telecommunications providers with arguments similar to those promulgated in 2009 in response to the Telecoms Package, namely that removing the ability to charge will hurt profits and prevent them from offering enhanced services to customers, with the end user inevitability being the one to suffer the results. However, the proposed law does allow for ISPs to conclude specialised services agreements for enhanced or defined levels of quality of service, provided such agreements do not cause detriment or impair the general quality of internet access services offered to other companies or service suppliers[3]. Further, network providers will also be able to take a limited number of traffic management measures to address network congestion, provided such measures are “technically necessary, transparent, proportionate and non-discriminatory”, and occur only temporarily or in exceptional circumstances[4].

Following the vote, Neelie Kroes, the EU telecom commissioner, stated “This vote is the EU delivering for citizens. This is what the EU is all about – getting rid of barriers to make life easier and less expensive”. If approved by the Council of the European Union, the proposal will be passed into law in October of this year.

For further information, please contact Emily Featherstone - Commercial Technology associate

[1] European Parliament Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and amending Directives 2002/20/EC, 2002/21/EC, 2002/22/EC, and Regulations (EC) No 1211/2009 and (EU) No 531/2012

(COM(2013)0627 – C7-0267/2013 – 2013/0309(COD)),  Amendment 41, Proposal for Regulation, Recital 45

[2] Directive 2009/136/EC Universal services directive, see Article 20, point 1(b).

[3] Ibid 1. Amendment 46, Proposal for Regulation, Recital 49; and Amendment 47, Proposal for Regulation, Recital 50

[4] Ibid 1. Amendment 43, Proposal for Regulation, Recital 47