Not So Liberal Democrat peers have proposed a new clause for the Digital Economy Bill that sets the ball rolling for state internet filtering:
Lord Razzall and Lord Clement-Jones have proposed the following new clause
Preventing access to specified online locations
In Part 1 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, after section 97A insert—
Preventing access to specified online locations
(1) The High Court (in Scotland, the Court of Session) shall have power to grant an injunction against a service provider, requiring it to prevent access to online
locations specified in the order of the Court.
(2) In determining whether to grant an injunction under subsection (1), the Court shall have regard to the following matters—
(a) whether a substantial proportion of the content accessible at or via each specified online location infringes copyright,
(b) the extent to which the operator of each specified online location
has taken reasonable steps to prevent copyright infringing content being accessed at or via that online location or taken reasonable steps to remove copyright infringing content from that online location (or both),
whether the service provider has itself taken reasonable steps to prevent access to the specified online location, and
(d) any other matters which appear to the Court to be relevant.
(3) An application for an injunction under subsection (1) shall be made on notice to the service provider and to the operator of each specified online location in relation to which an injunction is sought.
(a) the Court grants an injunction under subsection (1) upon the application of an owner of copyright whose copyright is infringed by the content accessible at or via each
specified online location in the injunction, and
(b) the owner of copyright before making the application made a written request to the service provider giving it a reasonable period of time to take measures to prevent
its service being used to access the specified online location in the injunction, and no steps were taken, the Court shall order the service provider to pay the copyright owner's costs of the application unless there were exceptional circumstances
justifying the service provider's failure to prevent access despite notification by the copyright owner.
(5) In this section—
copyright owner includes a
licensee with an exclusive licence within the meaning of section 92 of this Act,
infringing content means content which is produced or made available in infringement of copyright,
online location means a location on the internet, a mobile data network or other data network at or via which copyright infringing content is accessible,
operator means a person or persons in joint or sole control of the decisions to make content accessible at or via an online location, and
service provider has the meaning given to it
by section 97A(3) of this Act.
Update: Shared Interests
5th March 2010.
Lord Clement-Jones one of the proposers of the
new clause became the talk of the internet when it was noticed that he receives significant money from a law firm standing to gain from measures in the Digital Economy Bill
Register of Interests from publications.parliament.uk
Partner of DLA Piper (international law firm) and adviser to its global government relations practice.
The member is paid
£70,000 in respect of his services as Co-Chairman of DLA Piper's global government relations practice
Update: Amendment Passed
2010. Based on article from guardian.co.uk
the most contentious parts of the controversial digital economy bill was voted down by the House of Lords last night – only to be replaced by a clause that campaigners say is even more draconian.
The Liberal Democrats forced through a surprise
amendment to the bill's notorious clause 17 on Wednesday – in a move that dealt a defeat to the government but troubled critics, who suggest it will have the opposite effect that its creators intend.
Instead of sweeping new powers that threatened
sweeping alterations to British copyright law, the Lib Dems added a clause that gives extra oversight to the high court.
The new proposal – which was passed in the House of Lords by 165 votes to 140 – gives a high court judge the right to issue an
injunction against a website accused of hosting a substantial amount of copyright infringing material, potentially forcing the entire site offline.
Putting forward the amendment, Lib Dem peer Lord Clement-Jones said that it would placate
concerns over the so-called three strikes rule – which could see those accused of sharing files illegally online having their internet connections cut off – and added that it was a more proportionate, specific and appropriate way to
approach infringement than the previous proposals made by the government.
But instead of making the proposed system more transparent and accountable, critics say it will simply leave it open to abuse.
This would open the door to a
massive imbalance of power in favour of large copyright holding companies, said Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group. Individuals and small businesses would be open to massive 'copyright attacks' that could shut them down, just
by the threat of action. This is exactly how libel law works today: suppressing free speech by the unwarranted threat of legal action. The expense and the threat are enough to create a 'chilling effect'.
In particular, there are concerns that
the amendment could follow in the footsteps of America's controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which has been accused of encouraging companies to file bogus copyright claims to block material they dislike.
The high costs and dangers of
dealing with copyright claims in court mean that many web hosts simply take down the material in question without checking whether the copyright case is legitimate – even going as far as shutting down entire websites in some cases.
amendment could also have dire implications for websites like YouTube, where users can upload copyright-infringing material without the knowledge of the site's owners.
Good Summary from Metro
6th March 2010. Based on article from
Video-sharing websites such as YouTube could be blocked in Britain after a last-minute change to a new law
They are facing a major clampdown on using copyright material under an amendment passed by the House of Lords.
The change grants TV
and music companies the right to demand their material is taken down. If the request is refused, they can take their challenge to court, where high legal costs will make it pointless to launch a defence.
Under the new law, copyright holders must
ask ISPs and the website itself to remove the material or any links to other sites hosting it. If it is not taken down, a court order can force the ISP to block the site.
The amendment is aimed at websites with substantial amounts of
copyrighted material. However, critics say the law, which is set to be passed in April, is unclear about what substantial means and that it is unfair to block an entire site over a few minor breaches. They say ISPs would simply shut out a site
rather than risk the high legal costs of defending a case.
Nicholas Lansman, secretary-general of the Internet Service Providers Association, said: Our members are extremely concerned that the full implications of the amendment have not been