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Digital Economy bill – who is right on copyright? April 6, 2010

Posted by Mark Hillary in Government.
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The House of Lords have approved the Digital Economy Bill. The second reading in the Commons is due to take place today.

That’s going to be when the real debate kicks off in earnest. And this is a controversial government bill that affects every consumer of music, art, film, or culture. The telecoms giants are lining up on one side of the argument with the creative industries on the other.

The most contentious aspects of the bill are around the intertwining of copyright owners and Internet connections. The bill is proposing that where a copyright owner complains that their material is being made freely available on an unauthorised basis and therefore contrary to their right, it is then the responsibility of the ISP to close the Internet connection of the organisation or person offering the offending material. Rights holders will be going to court seeking injunctions to block websites.

But many in the industry feel this is the old world of copyright smashing into the new world of online media. In a world of peer-to-peer connections it is very difficult to determine exactly where copyright material resides, so how can a website be blocked by a court injunction? The government is already seeing an extensive online reaction, with people using the online social networks to organise real petitions and protests.

Will they push the bill through as it stands or do the protestors have a clearer vision of the digital future for Britain, and the creative community?

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Comments»

1. Simon Bomford - April 12, 2010

Commercially, many of you will be relieved to have a course of action against ISPs in relation to specific webpages and websites and bear in mind that stringent conditions will need to be met before any blocking injunction orders are made.

2. Joshy Thomas - April 12, 2010

The new Digital Economy Act will set up a system under which copyright owners can notify ISPs if they think their IP rights have been wronged. This Act will also extend the public lending right to e-books: this will surely radically change the way the nation reads.


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