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’

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Legislation on file-sharing, a rights-agency, and a copyright tax were all in the bundle of measures announced in the Digital Britain report today. Less widely reported is the policy on filtering and traffic shaping. And indeed, according to the ISP industry, it could have been much, much worse.


The UK government released its report on Digital Britain today, and with it came the recommendations from the peer-to-peer file sharing consultation it held last autumn.


It plans to establish a civil enforcement framework for online copyright infringement which will include:

**A new law to force ISPs to warn file-sharers about copyright infringement - based on information supplied by rights-holders; and to pass back to the rights-holders details of persistent file-sharers, who may be taken to court.

**A rights-agency that will enable the industries to "work together to prevent unlawful use by consumers". It is not

Read more: Digital Britain: 2 strikes and a stealth tax

UK record companies have asked the government to amend copyright law, imposing a liability burden for Internet Service Providers in respect of copyright infringements.

The BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) which represents the big four record labels, is demanding that the government should make ISPs liable for copyright infringement on the Internet. They want the ability to sue ISPs on the basis that broadbaand subscribers are using the service to download copyrighted music.

Their demand – together with their proposed wording for the new piece of law that they want – is to be found in the BPI submission to the recent UK government consultation on peer-to-peer filesharing. Specifically, they want the government to incorporate a new article in the Copyright Designs and Patent Act (CDPA), which would obligate ISPs implement technical measures to prevent copyright infringement. The BPI’s proposed new Article 97B of the CDPA contains the following text:

Read more: UK music companies demand ISP liability in copyright law

A UK report on digital Britain, which will reveal the UK government verdict on file-sharing and 3-strikes policy, has been delayed, apparently due to a “ministerial quagmire”, according to a report in the Times Newspaper this week.


It is not clear exactly what the “quagmire” consists of, but if various leaked comments to different media are anything to go by, it would seem there is disagreement at the highest level on how to deal with the issue. According to The Times article, the Digital Britain report was to have been released on on Monday, and  it is now expected to  come out tomorrow.

The report has been preceded by the publication of contributions to the BERR consultation on peer-to-peer file sharing earlier this month. BERR has 

Read more: UK polarised on file sharing and 3-strikes


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? 

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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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