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’

What should be done with Openreach, the mechanism for competition in UK broadband? The regulator's announcement was a cautious 'leave it as it is'.  Here we consider the other options. Divest Openreach from BT? Would public ownership be in the national interest? 

Today the UK regulator Ofcom has unveiled its conclusions in a 10 year review of the UK telecommunications industry. At the centre of it all is Openreach, the British Telecom division that controls competitive access to broadband customers around the country. The burning issue is whether Openreach should remain part of British Telecom, or whether Ofcom should force them to separate. It would seem that the regulator will stay more or less, with the status quo. It's also being reported that BT is dangling a £1billion carrot in front of the regulator.

However, the policy question is about the national interest in an internationally competitive broadband infrastructure. The government's policy

Read more: UK telecoms review – is Openreach too hot to touch?

***Breaking news *** 4 strikes deal *** Digital Economy Act without the backing of the law***

 A so-called ‘voluntary’ deal is close to being agreed in the UK between the Internet Service providers (ISPs) and the music and film industries for a system of notices to be sent to Internet users who are alleged to have downloaded copyright-protected material from non-licenced sources or ‘pirate- sites. This is the deal that Minister Ed Vaizey previewed in Parliament earlier this year, which he called VCAP –Voluntary Copyright Alert Proposals.

 Little is known yet about the deal, which was revealed  on (leaked to?) a BBC Radio news programme. The BBC is currently the sole source - I cannot find any other information  and the companies concerned have not put press releases online – however, it looks like they’ve tried to broker the Digital Economy Act without the backing of the law and without the involvement of Ofcom and scrapping the independent appeals body. Here’s what is known about it.

Read more: UK ISPs & music industry broker 4-strikes copyright anti-piracy deal

Blink and you’d miss it, but there is a tiny little Bill on  Intellectual Property being discussed in the UK Parliament this week. The Bill has nothing to do with copyright or the enforcement of it (only patents and design rights) but guess what? There are calls for Internet copyright enforcement to be included in it. Could they, and should they, slip in measures like criminal penalties and increased intermediary liability, into the IP Bill mid-process, without having done the relevant consultations and contrary to EU policy?

***Updated Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th January. See below.***

Read more: Should copyright enforcement be in the IP Bill?

dr.monica.horten.at.eclipse.foundation.london.24.nov.2016.crop.jpg

 

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." ITSecurity.co.uk

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.

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Iptegrity.com 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

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The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review