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Lib Dems looking to block copyright-infringing sites in the UK

Changes wanted to Digital Economy Bill
Changes wanted to Digital Economy Bill
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The Liberal Democrat Party is actively pursuing a change to the Digital Economy Bill which would see sites which host copyrighted material illegally blocked in the UK.

This amendment could well have severe implications for those who use the internet in Britain and may target well-known video-sharing sites such as YouTube.

The two peers who are looking to add a "Preventing access to specified online locations" clause are the brilliantly titled Lord Razzall and not-so brilliantly named Lord Clement-Jones.

Prevent access

The crux of the clause is as follows:

"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."

This is somewhat chillingly followed by: "whether a substantial proportion of the content accessible at or via each specified online location infringes copyright."

The Lib Dems will obviously try and sugar coat this as much as possible and, if the clause is put in place, a lot will hinge on what exactly is a "substantial proportion" of copyright infringement.

At the moment, there is little to no web filtering happening in the UK. If this law were to pass, then we could very well see ourselves in a situation like China where the reasons for blocking certain sites are more than a bit skewed.

Australia is another country looking into possible net filtering.

The Digital Economy Bill was announced back in 2009 and has courted much controversy for its proposed tax levy on internet connections and it gives Peter Mandelson, First Secretary of State, the right to change the bill at any time of his choosing.

Via OpenRightsGroup

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.