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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'

 Is the Online Infringement of Copyright (Initial Obligations) (Sharing of Costs) Order 2011 being rushed into Parliament just so that Ofcom can claim back expenses related to  the UK's  graduated response scheme?  

 

***Update 19 January. The draft SI on cost sharing and the "online infringement of copyright"  is due to be published by the UK Parliament today - I will update with a link when I have it ***

 

Today the UK Parliament took delivery of a  draft law - known as a Statutory Instrument - setting out the cost sharing arrangements for  the first stage of the  graduated response /3-strikes measures in the Digital Economy Act. 'Cost sharing' means how the costs will be split between ISPs and rights-holders, and the SI is highly controversial.

 

The Statutory Instrument - or SI for short -  has been  ‘laid before Parliament' which I have discovered means that it was deposited at the Secretary's office.  This means that it must now go through a process where

Read more: DE Act: Will Parliament approve or reject copyright expenses?

In the wake of yesterday's Wikileaks drama, a call by the  British  Phonographic Industry (BPI) for Internet blocking to support music copyright,  has gone almost unnoticed.  But  the BPI's call  is a siren warning that the freedom of the Internet is intensely under threat.

 

Yesterday, in interviews carried out alongside one of its standard press announcements about online piracy and digital music sales,   BPI head, Geoff  Taylor,  called for  Internet blocking to support music copyright. His demands were put in an interview broadcast on the BBC News 24  and in another interview given  to a reporter from the Daily Telegraph. (‘Blocking' is the word which he appears to have used.)  Mr Taylor wants

Read more: BPI (British IFPI) call to block the 'Net

Ministerial talks with rights-holders and ISPs. Ed Vaizey hints at web blocking in Parliamentary debate. Is the Minister just an industry pawn?

 UK Communications and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has come in for quite a bit of criticism for suggesting a two-tier Internet. A closer examination of his Parliamentary speeches reveals that he is organising secret talks between the entertainment and Internet industries.

 It is not exactly clear what the talks were about, but it seems that the agenda may have slipped from

Read more: DE Act: Minister hosts industry talks on web blocking

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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor: online safety, technology and human rights. In April 2024, I was appointed as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on online safety and empowerment of content creators and users. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for non-commercial use. Please link back and attribute Dr Monica Horten.  Contact me to use any of my content for commercial purposes.  

The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review