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’

The Digital Economy Act, and the issues raised by it,  will  be addressed by  a new Committee of the UK Parliament. At its first meeting yesterday, it was  rights-holders v citizens. But where were the telcos?


The first meeting of the  All Party Parliamentary Group on the Digital Economy (APPG - Digital Economy) was held yesterday in the ancient and  hallowed halls of the Palace of Westminster. As befits this primordial  fight waged by the  rights-holders,  the poised and practiced  music industry lobbyists squared up to the largely volunteer citizens' representatives  across the room.

The rights-holders were for once not the dominant group, finding their presence matched by an equally strong citizen presence consisting of

Read more: DE Act: could the UK Parliament revisit it?

Two of the six largest Internet Service Providers in the UK are mounting a legal challenge the 3-strikes law known as the Digital Economy Act (DE Act for short).  


TalkTalk, which has been consistent in its opposition to the DE Act, and BT, which has previously not taken action, have combined forces to  file papers in the High court. They are asking for a judicial review of the DE Act, which they claim failed to follow the correct legal procedures in respect of EU law. They do not specify the names of the directives, but they would appear to be referring to

Read more: UK ISPs demand judicial review of 3-strikes law

A qualifying copyright holder is a new concept under the Digital Economy Act. But what is it? And is Ofcom introducing a two-tier copyright regime, where those with the valuable rights get privileges and individual authors get side-lined?


Ofcom's Initial Obligations Code, the euphemistically obscure title for the UK's 3-strikes policy,  includes something called a Qualifying Copyright Holder.

 The definition is as obtuse and incoherent as everything in the Ofcom document, which outlines the implementation of the Digital Economy Act.  The draft order defines a "qualifying Copyright Owner" as one who has "has given an estimate of the number of copyright infringement reports it intends to make in a notification period to a qualifying internet service provider".  And it  adds that the qualifying copyright owner has to meet other obligations for paying towards the costs of the 3-strikes measures.

 What it means  is that the only rights-holders who will ‘benefit' under the 3-strikes measures are those who have a

Read more: DE Act: does the UK qualify for a 2-tier copyright regime?

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? 

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

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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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