UK Looks to US for Inspiration in Web Site Blocking Law

July 5, 2011 -

Taking a cue from North American lawmakers, politicians in the United Kingdom are planning on creating laws to deal with supposed illegal streaming of copyrighted content. The warning came from UK Communications Minister Ed Vaizey in a speech at the Intellect Consumer Electronics in London. In that speech Vaizey said that a "voluntary code of practice" being drawn up by US ISPs and content owners might be a "game-changer" in other countries. And by other countries, he means his country.

"If people are streaming live football without permission we should look at ways we can stop them," he said. "People have the right to earn money from content they create."

While he remained silent on what was decided or discussed at last week's meeting between ISPs and content providers to discuss website blocking, he did say that what is going on in the United States is "leading the way."

"A voluntary agreement may come out of the US and if that does happen it could be a game-changer," he said.

He also said that he found the attitudes of UK ISP's "odd," especially BT and TalkTalk's failed legal challenge to the Digital Economy Act (DEA). The DEA is supposed to prevent piracy using peer-to-peer file-sharing and some website blocking. Of course, Vaizey's comments are "odd" because the law also allows content providers to seek an injunction against ISPs that do not restrict access to illegal streaming sites that contain their intellectual property.

The Motion Picture Association recently sued BT over supposedly linking to members-only index site Newzbin.

The MPA wants BT to block Newzbin using the exact same system the ISP uses to block sites hosting child pornography.

That case is due to be heard in court next week.

Vaizey closed by saying that critics of website blocking are showing a degree of hypocrisy:

"They [the US government] have been tough but if they took down a website linking to fake handbags no-one would bat an eyebrow," he said. "As soon as it is a site sharing music it becomes an issue about freedom of speech."

Source: BBC


Comments

Re: UK Looks to US for Inspiration in Web Site Blocking Law

To say that the US is leading the way on anything right now is a joke. It's the corporations/industries that are the ones leading the way: the MPAA and RIAA and others who simply have too much cash to throw around to buy people off to get their way.

Re: UK Looks to US for Inspiration in Web Site Blocking Law

The RIAA and MPAA are American.

Re: UK Looks to US for Inspiration in Web Site Blocking Law

I think what he means is that the US, as a whole, are not necessarily leading the way on anything, not that US companies aren't (and as far I'm concerned, companies in the US don't represent the entirety of the US, regardless whether it's the MPAA/RIAA or not).

Aside from that, I think it's rather presumptuious to assume that the United States is "leading the way" on anything, whether they actually are or not.

Ontopic: My main issue with these laws is that they tend to go after the wrong websites. They shut down websites merely linking to illegal content but seem completely oblivious of the websites that are actually being linked to.

Another issue is one that websites such as YouTube have encountered since their inception. It's an issue that arises with pretty much any user-driven website, such as video, image and file hosts.

Google has, on ocassion, been sued for hosting videos [on YouTube] that infringe upon copyright laws. Of course, the argument is pretty simple: It's not Google's fault that their users post copyrighted content without permission, and whilst Google (and similar sites) probably try their best to get rid of them as quickly as possible (okay, Google doesn't, but anyway...) they shouldn't be expected to watch every single piece of data uploaded to their servers as soon as it hits their servers.

Most of these services don't have proactive protection, they don't have a large group of moderators monitoring every video or image that comes into contact with the servers, as that wouldn't be cost-efficient and you'd need so many people to monitor something as large as YouTube (hence why they employ the users themselves to report).

TL;DR: The hosts of the user-driven website shouldn't be the ones the law goes after, the people who are uploading the content in the first place should be. Same premise as those linking to what may be considered illegal.

To use the example in the article: I would compare somebody linking to a site selling fake handbags with somebody merely talking about fake handbags and where you could buy them. It's not illegal for me to know where to buy illegal products (though it might be considered morally irresponsible not to report these places), it's illegal for me to engage in the act of buying or selling the products (or to bear accomplice to somebody else doing so).

Well, it isn't in New Zealand anyway. The US is an entirely different country, with entirely different laws.

Re: UK Looks to US for Inspiration in Web Site Blocking Law

Of course the US is leading the way. It doesn't matter who the puppet masters are as long as the puppets follow the commands.

E. Zachary Knight
Divine Knight Gaming

Re: UK Looks to US for Inspiration in Web Site Blocking Law

I wonder how long until we get a mini trade war going.... at the moment we mostly have the US saying 'this is illegal here, so we can shut down the website world wide'... what happens when a US company following US law has its global presence shut down because it violates another country's rules?

I think mostly the US government is happy about this because they do not see it as possible.. when yahoo auctions was found breaking local rules it only had to filter out individual countries but its main operation kept going.  What would the political fallout have looked like if France was able to kick all of yahoo off the net, even for US customers?

Re: UK Looks to US for Inspiration in Web Site Blocking Law

"They [the US government] have been tough but if they took down a website linking to fake handbags no-one would bat an eyebrow," he said.

That's true.  I don't think anyone would ever bat an eyebrow.  I'm not sure that's even physiologically possible.

Teasing aside, instead of blocking sites linking to fake handbags, why not block the sites selling fake handbags?

 

Andrew Eisen

 
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Neenekowell, specifically it helps people already living there and hurts people who want to live there instead. As for 'way more hurt', majorities generally need less legal protection. yes it hurt more people then it helped, it was written for a minority04/16/2014 - 8:30am
MaskedPixelantehttp://torrentfreak.com/square-enix-drm-boosts-profits-and-its-here-to-stay-140415/ Square proves how incredibly out of touch they are by saying that DRM is the way of the future, and is here to stay.04/16/2014 - 8:29am
james_fudgeUnwinnable Weekly Telethon playing Metal Gear http://www.twitch.tv/rainydayletsplay04/16/2014 - 8:06am
ConsterTo be fair, there's so little left of the middle class that those numbers are skewing.04/16/2014 - 7:42am
Matthew Wilsonyes it help a sub section of the poor, but hurt both the middle and upper class. in the end way more people were hurt than helped. also, it hurt most poor people as well.04/16/2014 - 12:13am
SeanBJust goes to show what I have said for years. Your ability to have sex does not qualify you for parenthood.04/15/2014 - 9:21pm
NeenekoSo "worked" vs "failed" really comes down to who you think is more important and deserving04/15/2014 - 7:04pm
NeenekoThough I am also not sure we can say NYC failed. Rent control helped the people it was intended for and is considered a failure by the people it was designed to protect them from.04/15/2014 - 7:04pm
NeenekoIf they change the rules, demand will plummet. Though yeah, rent control probably would not help much in the SF case. I doubt anything will.04/15/2014 - 1:35pm
TheSmokeyOnline gamer accused of murdering son to keep playing - http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2014/04/15/21604921.html04/15/2014 - 11:50am
Matthew Wilsonyup, but curent city rules do not allow for that.04/15/2014 - 11:00am
ZippyDSMleeIf SF dose not start building upwards then they will price people out of the aera.04/15/2014 - 10:59am
Matthew Wilsonthe issue rent control has it reduces supply, and in SF case they already has a supply problem. rent control ofen puts rent below cost, or below profit of selling it. rent control would not fix this issue.04/15/2014 - 10:56am
NeenekoRent control is useful in moderation, NYC took it way to far and tends to be held up as an example of them not working, but in most cases they are more subtle and positive.04/15/2014 - 10:24am
PHX CorpBeating Cancer with Video Games http://mashable.com/2014/04/14/steven-gonzalez-survivor-games/04/15/2014 - 9:21am
Matthew Wilsonwhat are you saying SF should do rent control, that has never worked every time it has been tried. the issue here is a self inflicted supply problem imposed by stupid laws.04/15/2014 - 8:52am
E. Zachary KnightNeeneko, Government created price controls don't work though. They may keep prices down for the current inhabitants, but they are the primary cause of recently vacated residences having astronomical costs. Look at New York City as a prime example.04/15/2014 - 8:50am
NeenekoI think free markets are important, but believe in balance. Too much of any force and things get unstable.04/15/2014 - 7:25am
NeenekoWell, the traditional way of keeping prices down is what they are doing, controls on lease termination and tax code, but it will not be enough in this case.04/15/2014 - 7:24am
Matthew WilsonI said that already04/14/2014 - 4:22pm
 

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