Did we or did we NOT fight a revolution to free ourselves from British tyranny? One would not think so considering how our past and current administrations are following Windsor Castle, the Palace of Westminster and 10 Downing Street. Did we or did we not build a nation that was stronger and more resilient than England, and why would we even be considering their thought processes to be better than ours? Ready for the next installment in “we need to be more like Europe”? Let us all see how long it takes to reach our shores…
The High Court could be given the power to issue an injunction against a website accused of hosting “substantial” amounts of copyright-infringing material, under amendments to the Digital Economy Bill proposed by the Liberal Democrats.
It means popular websites, such as YouTube, which often unwittingly carry content uploaded without the permission of copyright holders, could be “blocked” or forced offline if the amendment is upheld.
The Digital Economy Bill was announced in the Queen’s speech in November, with a major section dedicated to how best to deal with illegal file sharing.
The Bill, currently in the report stage at the House of Lords before its third reading in the Commons, proposes a solution of several steps, which begins with a warning letter sent to those illegally downloading from their internet service provider and could end with the internet connection being temporarily suspended.
Internet freedom campaigners have reacted with dismay to the proposed changes to the Bill. Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, warned many websites could be forced offline simply by the prospect of expensive legal proceedings.
He said: “Individuals and small businesses would be open to massive ‘copyright attacks’ that could shut them down, just by the threat of action.”
The Internet Service Providers Association, which represents ISPs, said it was “outraged” by the plans, while TalkTalk said the plans would force ISPs to restrict access to specific sites.
“Currently we do restrict access to a few sites but only in the most serious cases, for instance those involving child pornography or issues of national security,” said Andrew Heaney, executive director of strategy and reputation at TalkTalk. “It’s hard to see how copyright infringement warrants the same draconian response.
“More to the point, making the restriction of websites a more widespread policy would be dangerous given its major impact on internet users’ human rights, freedom of expression and privacy. We fear it could also be a backdoor to censorship of the internet.”
Lord Clement-Jones, the Liberal Democrat peer who tabled the amendment, said the changes would be welcomed by content creators. “I believe this is going to send a powerful message to our creative industries that we value what they do, that we want to protect what they do, that we do not believe in censoring the internet, but we are responding to genuine concerns,” he said.
Google, which owns YouTube, said it was considering the implications of the amendment.