For the backstory to the upload filter check my book The Closing of the Net - PAPERBACK OR KINDLE - £15.99!

Digital Britain

Britain has traditionally been  influential in European policy for telecoms and online content. It is not as loud as France, but in a quieter way, lets its views be known. British  policy was the point from which the EU has taken  its lead, notably in trying to establish a competitive telecoms market, where  the British influence on telecoms policy has been markedly  evident. Britain's competitive telecoms policy was established in the 1980s and 1990s, and has subsequently been implemented by successive governments. Britain now arguably has the most competitive telecoms market globally. It risks losing this influence if we leave the EU.

The current Conservative government has set a policy goal for universal broadband access. However, the structures that govern the industry are problemative for achieving this goal. This makes for some interesting policy analysis.

The government also supports a policy of content filtering, which is problematic.  Content filtering  is contradictory to the government's  aim of leading the world in digital and creating a new industrial strategy.

This section primarily  discusses a previous  policy attempt to amend telecoms law for copyright enforcement in Britain. This was  the Digital Economy Act which was forced through in the dying hours of the last Parliament in May 2010.   These measures  involved the use of network technology against the users, with  implications for the neutrality of the network, and the neutral ‘mere conduit’ status of the network provider. In 2016,  this law has not been implemented, and  from what can be ascertained it is deemed to be unworkable.

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’

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

A judgement in  the UK High Court yesterday squashed the legal challenge to the Digital Economy Act by BT and TalkTalk. It  rejected  a series of legal claims concerning notification to the European Union, incompatibility with European Internet and privacy law, and dis-proportionality,  allowing only one very minor claim regarding costs.


It is  astonishing that the judge has come up with a judgement on this  complex matter in such a very short time. He has taken  less than a month. Compare it for example, the ECJ, where the Advocate General  took 3 months before he delivered an opinion on the Sabam v Scarlet case, another major European case on copyright enforcement.

 The judge, Mr Justice Parker,  is somewhat dismissive of BT and TalkTalk's arguments, and critical of them for delivering a substantial economic analysis ( the content of which is not public, but the judgement complains of  the volume of it).

 He instead comes down firmly on the side of the government -  which de facto,  is also the rights-holders.  It was notable that the government and the rights-holders sat together  - and laughed together - in the court-room.

 Overall, the judgement does not

Read more: DE Act court ruling - a twisted balance



States v the 'Net? 

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

"original and valuable"  Times higher Education

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

Find out more about the book here  The Closing of the Net


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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

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

Don't miss Iptegrity!  RSS/ Bookmark is the website of Dr Monica Horten. She is  a trainer & consultant on Internet governance policy, published author& Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. She served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on  Internet freedom. She has worked on CoE, EU and UNDP funded projects in eastern Europe and beyond.  She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012. Iptegrity  offers expert insights into Internet policy (and now Brexit). Iptegrity has a core readership in the Brussels policy community, and has been cited in the media. Please acknowledge Iptegrity when you cite or link.  For more, see IP politics with integrity 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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The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review