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’

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?

Criminal law is providing  fresh ammunition for British  rights-holders,  despairing of ever seeing the civil  law – in the form of  the Digital Economy Act copyright infringement measures -  ever being implemented. In this  latest phase of their battle against peer-to-peer file-sharers, British rights-holders are enlisting law enforcement officers to pursue owners of file-sharing  sites.   This development is of interest in light of  the ACTA debate in the European Union, where  the prospect of imposing criminal measures  for alleged online infringements was widely scrutinised.

Read more: UK rights-holders turn to criminal law in new anti-filesharing purge

It is now obvious that the implementation of the copyright infringement measures in the   UK’s Digital Economy Act has been delayed. But it seems that the rights-holders are becoming impatient. The question is whether their impatience will get them what they want.

Read more: DE Act delays prompt fresh ‘voluntary’ talks

copyrightenforcement.enigma.book.launch.european.parliament.2012.jpg

 

States v the 'Net? 

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

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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.

Iptegrity in brief

 

Iptegrity.com 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 am on the Advisory Council of the Open Rights Group.  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. For more, see About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com 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


 

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