After the events I reported and commented on in my blog post of 3 December, the House of Lords in the UK has approved (almost unanimously) the Digital Economy Bill in its second reading. Lord Lucas has now proposed to add new provisions, including the obligation of an internet service provider (ISP) to block access to a website which the court judges to be infringing an author’s copyright.
My immediate reaction to this proposal is that it is unrealistic. If, as a result of pressure from industry, this Bill becomes law, the cost to ISPs and the effects on free speech, privacy and internet access would be significant. The proposed obligation means that ISPs would have to check every information transfer to ensure that illegal activities are not being perpetrated. This seems both impractical and unworkable.
Joe McNamee, Advocacy Coordinator at European Digital Rights, commented:
“The more general problem is that the inertia of the music industry leads to people finding illicit ways of accessing material. The answer cannot be to create legislation to try to “stop the clock” and reward and protect that inertia!”
Is the current UK government really unable to develop practical proposals which address the lagging of copyright law behind XXI century technology?
Post written by Francesca Re Manning, consultant to CAS-IP