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Lord Mandelson,  who is putting through the protectionist Digital Economy Bill on behalf of the wealthy creative industry corporations, has come out with a revised version of the BPI's website blocking clause. But beware, because this is merely a ruse to get 3-strikes carried when it goes before the House of Commons next week. 


The Clause is not substantially different from the one proposed by Lord Clement-Jones and Lord Howard of Rising. All it seems to do is to create another layer of legislation,  and possibly it could have two effects: one is that Mandelson is trying to get the rest of the Digital Economy bill passed before the election, so this is a ruse to leave out the most controversial clause. And, in putting it off until the political  heat is also off, he can sneak it through more easily. 


This clause will enable courts to order the blocking of websites. It is based on an original amendment written by the BPI (British Recorded Music Industry). It is intended to give the government a catch-all to deal with the next developement after P2P and YouTube - any new application which may be used to circulate music and film.


Lord Mandelson has written a letter of explanation to the two opposition parties, which sounds very reasonable, but given that he is spin-meister general for the government, should we believe him?


According to Linx , my interpretation would be correct.  The Clause needs EU approval because it is altering our law in respect of technical standardsm.  The EU requires 3 mnths notice. If Mandelson left Clause 18 in the Digital Economy Bill, opponents of the Bill would have an easy way to knock out the entire Bill. Therefore, he has left it out. He will bring it back in 3 months time, if he is still in office, having given the required notice to the EU.

All he has done is avoid an obvious legal challenge for non-compliance with an EU regulation, which would have brought the whole Bill down. 


We know that the BPI are already counting on a lazy and corrupt Parliament rubber-stamping the Bill. 


Here is the revised Clause 18 of the Digital Economy Bill

Here is Lord Mandelson's letter  to opposition spokesman Jeremy Hunt (who incidentally, will be facing the BPI's own Richard Mollett as the opposing Labour candidate in his South-wet Surrey constituency -  see my previous article). 

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2010) Beware as Mandelson sneaks in new web blocking clause 31 March  2010

Iptegrity in brief is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing.   I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. I am currently (from June 2022)  Policy Manager - Freedom of Expression, with the Open Rights Group. For more, see About Iptegrity is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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