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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'

Parking-fine style Internet suspension may be proposed by the British government, as a sanction for against peer-to-peer users who are alleged to have infringed  copyright.


Details have emerged of British government proposals for  an

Read more: UK latest: it's not a Hadopi, not as we know it

UK musicians, composers and producers "vehemently oppose" the UK proposals to use network filtering and "technial measures" for copyright enforcement. The costs of implementing such measures are way out of proportion to the supposed benefits. Above all, they say, do not punish their fans.

 

A coalition of UK performing artists, composers and music producers, including well-known names such as Annie Lennox,  Radiohead, Robbie Williams, and Tom Jones, have voiced their opposition to the UK government's plans to enforce copyright on the Internet using "technical measures".  Of particular interest for the European Commission, they highlight a number of economic reasons why they oppose it.

 

The coalition comprises the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and the Music Producers Guild (MPG). Their views were made clear in an joint statement  published last week: 

 

..."we have serious reservations about

Read more: Don't punish our fans, say UK musicians

Lord Mandelson says that he hears the concerns of Internet users. But he has not altered in  his determination to pursue the protectionist  demands of the music and entertainment industries.

 

Lord Mandelson has provided  his own reply to the criticism of his plans to take over direct control of  Internet copyright enforcement measures. Writing as a guest contributor The Times, in an article that looks like it was dashed off in a taxi between engagements,  Lord Mandelson makes it clear that he has already taken a decision in respect of

Read more: What Lord Mandelson doesn't get about the 'Net

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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor: online safety, technology and human rights. In April 2024, I was appointed as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on online safety and empowerment of content creators and users. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for non-commercial use. Please link back and attribute Dr Monica Horten.  Contact me to use any of my content for commercial purposes.  

The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review