Big tech accountability? Read how we got here in  The Closing of the Net 

Digital Britain

Britain was traditionally  influential in European policy for telecoms policy. It was a  British Commissioner, Lord Cockfield,  who established the Single European Market.  Britain led the way in the establishment of a competitive European  telecoms market.  However, in leaving the EU, Britain has  lost the ability to influence  European policy in the future, and in 2022, Britain sadly finds itself no longer a major power, but instead has become an embarrassment for  British representatives in international fora.  The government is sunk deep in corruption,  it blatantly lies, its law-breaking has led to mistrust among former allies.  There are multiple posts, articles, and tweets to support this claim. 

It's in this context that the British government is preparing a law to address regulation of the Internet. It's a law that will have far-reaching implications  for the way the Internet will function in Britain, and will impact on web platforms overseas. I am referring of course, to the Online Safety Bill. As I write this, at the beginning of 2022, the Bill is only in draft form. How will it end up? Interestingly, in going through my old posts, I note that wrote in 2015 about a similarly -named Bill. It was the predecessor to this one. It never became law, but many of the provisions in it appear to have been taken forward into the 2022 version. 

A number of the articles in this section discuss a previous policy, called   the Digital Economy Act 2010.  This was a law that mandated broadband providers to work with the music and film industries, in order to enforce copyright on the Internet. It was forced through in the dying hours of the Parliament before the General Election of  May 2010.  The measures  involved the use of network technology to sanction  users, with  implications for the neutrality of the network, and the  ‘mere conduit’ status of the network provider. The law was deemed unworkable and never implemented. That is a lesson that needs to be taken on board by all policy-makers in this field.

If you like the articles in this section, you may like my book The Closing of the Net.

If you are interested in the Digital Economy Act and copyright enforcement policy, you may like my previous books A Copyright Masquerade: How Corporate Lobbying Threatens Online Freedoms and The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the ‘Telecoms Package’

2nd post in a series on the government's response to Hargreaves

Will Hargreaves call for better evidence in IP policy-making result in more questioning of rights-holder data? Or more surveillance?

The Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth was praised for demanding better ‘evidence’ in IP policy-making. In particular, Hargreaves was very critical of rights-holder substitution rates in making claims for lost revenue.  However, the government’s official response to Hargreaves, quietly

Read more: Hargreaves response: what is effective evidence?

Professor Hargreaves comments are enlightening and refreshing.  The EU should take note, in light of the impending publication of the IPRED review: 

Make policy based on evidence not lobbying. Creative industries need to change their business model. Anti-piracy lobby groups are ‘alarmist'. Scarcity of reliable data to back up enforcement measures. Digital Economy Act should be carefully monitored.


The UK review of copyright law, led by Professor Ian Hargreaves, has concluded that the copyright framework is outdated and obstructive for innovation in the digital age. He calls for copyright policy to be made on weight of evidence, not weight of lobbying, and accused the creative industries of  being alarmist about  ‘piracy'.


On enforcement, he warns that governments must do more to ensure that the creative industries make available legal content, saying that stronger enforcement measures such as the Digital Economy Act cannot work unless more effort is put into the business model. He is pointedly critical of the available research which claims to point to the scale of piracy, saying that it is unreliable. And he is scathing of the whinging

Read more: UK copyright review: focus on reform not enforcement

Does Ed Richards believe  this cleft stick policy can be effective in the  digital age?*


 Ed Richards,  chief executive of the UK telecoms regulator Ofcom, has  told Parliament that he does not expect the first letters to be sent out under the Digital Economy Act for at least a year. Speaking to the Culture, Media and Sport committee earlier this month, he said that there were ‘internal clearance processes' to be gone through, as well as the European Commission all of which could take ‘some months'. On top of that, Ofcom has to set up the new appeals body mandated by the act - if the EU approves it.


Based on an uncorrected transcript of the committee proceedings ( see link below), Ed  Richards  was put under pressure by ‘content creator' of  romantic novels,  and former EMI press officer,  ( not entirely a disinterested party) Conservative MP Louise Bagshawe.  She wanted to know  why he couldn't move more  quickly to get the warning notices out to alleged P2P infringers.


Mr  Richards  explained that the Initial

Read more: Ofcom chief: DE Act kick-off delayed by a year


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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States v the 'Net? 

Read The Closing of the Net, by me, Monica Horten.

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" essential read for anyone interested in understanding the forces at play behind the web."

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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

In 2012, I presented my PhD research in the European Parliament.

The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review


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