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’


£5 million a year for Ofcom's DE Act responsibilities - but Mr Vaizey was a little hazy about what it will pay for.  He referred to monitoring activities. Ofcom's own  slides reveal an expensive programme of p2p monitoring.


The Communications Minister Ed Vaizey confirmed to Parliament that the  budget for the telecoms regulator Ofcom,  in respect of the Digital Economy Act (DE Act),  is £5 million a year. That comes on top of £5.8 million for setting up its DE Act operations.  The figure in itself is not new, as it was reported last year in a government document. However, Mr Vaizey added a statement on what the £5 million will cover. He said the £5 million a year is to cover Ofcom's "responsibilities" under the DE Act, which include :

"monitoring and enforcement

Read more: Ofcom's DE Act £5 million-a-year - for exactly what, Mr Vaizey?

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport is reviewing the DE Act's web blocking clauses. But  the review does not seem to be  limited to the text of the law, and raises new policy issues which are not in the text that was passed by Parliament.


UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has ordered the telecoms regulator, Ofcom, to  review of the web blocking clauses in the Digital Economy Act. These clauses -  - 17 and 18 -  rely on secondary legislation to come into effect, and would give British courts the power to order the blocking of websites on application by rights-holders.


Mr Hunt  is claiming to be conducting the review in response to citizen opposition expressed on a government webiste - entitled  Your Freedom  - which sought to understand laws which people wanted repealed. On that basis, he has enlisted the support of the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.


 However, the tone of the review announced by Mr Hunt yesterday, is quite the opposite. The aim of the review is not to understand the democratic

Read more: DE Act: is Jeremy Hunt extending it by the back-door?

The European Commission questions whether  the DE Act cost-sharing is  allowable under EU law. And Ofcom suggests that ISPs could give credit vouchers to the rights-holders if they send fewer warning notices than  they forecast.

  The Westminster Parliament is being asked to pass a law which has been critiqued by the European Commission  and is potentially flawed.  The matter relates to a Statutory Instrument (SI)  setting out the sharing of costs between ISPs and rights-holders under the Digital Economy Ac copyright enforcement (graduated response) measures. It was laid before Parliament last week - as already reported on  It's full title is the "Online Infringement of Copyright (Initial Obligations) (Sharing of Costs) Order 2011".


The (SI) was notified to the European Commission  by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills  under the usual procedures. However, the Commission has come back with a number of questions for BIS, which ought to be addressed befor Parliament can pass an opinion on it.

 In a nutshell,

Read more: DE Act: should Parliament pass flawed ISP costs order?


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


FROM £15.99

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