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’

Members of the British Parliament have called for Google to be regulated as a dominant player in the Internet industry. The call follows a complaint by a British-based price comparisons company to the European Commission.

 

In debate misleadingly entitled  as ‘Government Policy on Net Neutrality',  British MPs debated whether Google should be regulated in the context of its dominance as a search engine.  But taking a different turn from the usual platitudes of big content companies who complain about Google, in this instance, their concern was for the health of small businesses online, especially those which start up new  services and try to compete againstl  the big search engines.

 The debate was prompted by the complaint by a British company, Foundem, to the European Commission DG Competition.  Foundem operates a price-comparison service for online shopping. According to the MP Dominc Raab, Conservative Member for Esher and Walton,  Foundem has alleged that Google downgraded its search results, and acted anti-competitively  in a way which was financially negative for Foundem.  

 Mr Raab said that  the effect was to suppress Foundem  in Google search results. Mr Raab pointed out that the alleged treatment of Foundem would be sufficient to bury and kill off many businesses.  He accused Google of deliberately

Read more: Calls for controls on Google in UK Parliament

Digital Economy Act, Judicial Review, Day 3  - Friday 25 March

 

The High Court in London was told last week that  a chilling effect is "a price properly to be paid for the greater aim of protecting copyright owners interests" as the British government's barrister defended the Digital Economy Act against  claims by BT and Talk Talk that the Act is  unenforceable and disproportionate.

 A key tenet of the government's defence  was the rights of copyright owners represent a legitmate aim for legislation and come before other rights, such as those of ISPs or Internet users.

It was the third day of  a hearing which forms part of a Judicial Review of the DE Act. On Days 1 and 2,  BT and Talk Talk had  set out their grounds supporting their claim, including that the government failed to notify the DEAct to the European Commission prior to putting it before Parliament, that it breaches the E-commerce directive and the E-privacy directive, and  that it has implications for freedom of expression, including an anticipated ‘chilling effect' ( see previous articles on iptegrity).

The government's barrister took less

Read more: Chilling effect is a 'price worth paying' says government barrister

BT and TalkTalk v Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

BT - "You cannot justify national measures on the optimistic hope that they might just work.".

 

 **This report is my own view, having spent the day in court.**

 

On day 2 of the court case at the High Court in London which will determine the legality of the Digital Economy Act, BT tackled the arguments against the DE Act regarding the   dis-proportionality  of the copyright enforcement measures.

 

BT argued that the measures address only a fraction of the problem which they claim to solve, are based on a flawed calculation of their effectiveness, based on a false set of assumptions. In particular, BT  sought to ‘put a cricket ball through the stump  of the government's cost /benefit analysis'.  Moreover, BT suggested that the government misconstrued  one of its main justifications for the Bill.

 

BT claims that the government gave out  a misconceived

Read more: Day 2 DE Act Judicial Review: was the Act built on hope alone?

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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." 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