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The Possible Dawning of a New Era for the Internet in Britain

Apr 12, 2010 - by admin
UK Eye

New legislation is being passed through the British parlament at record speed, among them a bill that has the power to bring much of the internet down to its knees within the United Kingdom. Whether or not the bill will affect the online gambling industry is unknown, but nevertheless, a possibility.

Cnet UK: Digital Economy Bill: Nine things you can’t do any more

The Digital Economy Bill has clauses that could lead to some pretty horrible outcomes. The bill sprinted from Commons to Lords almost without a pause for breath before getting the nod from Her Maj. Until Ofcom hammers out the details outlined in the bill, it’s impossible to say how we’ll be affected. Possibilities:

Watch copyrighted content
The bill aims to make it more difficult to access copyrighted content by blocking Web sites built around sharing such material. Sanctions can be applied to users if they use them.

Download from us
The bill states that download websites can be blocked if they providing copyright infringing tools.

Use WikiLeaks
According to the bill, the government can block sites deemed ‘likely to’ infringe copyright. How ‘likely to’ will be defined will determined which sites can be blocked.

Use free open Wi-Fi
Locations that provide Wi-Fi may think twice about doing so as they will be held accountable for internet traffic from their servers.

Watch YouTube
YouTube may come under fire as copyrighted material can be found on the site.

Google stuff
As Google is often used to find downloads, it too may be threatened.

The New York Times: U.K. Approves Crackdown on Internet Pirates

The British Parliament has approved plans to crack down on digital media piracy by authorizing the suspension of repeat offenders’ Internet connections.

Both the House of Commons and the House of Lords approved the bill after heavy lobbying from the music and movie industries. The anti-piracy plan is part of a broader bill aimed at stimulating the digital economy in Britain.

The government’s anti-piracy plans were modified in the final rounds of negotiations over the bill. Under previous proposals, the content industries could have gone to court to seek injunctions requiring Internet service providers to block access to Web sites that foster piracy. Similar clauses were included elsewhere in the bill.

The Guardian: Digital economy bill rushed through wash-up in late night session

The UK government forced the Digital Economy Bill through parliament with the aid of the Conservative party, attaining a crucial third reading – which means it will get royal assent and become law – after just 2 hours of debate in the Commons.

Despite opposition from the Liberal Democrats and a group of Labour MPs who spoke against measures contained in the bill, the government easily won 2 votes to determine the content of the bill and its passage through the committee stage. The vote was in the government’s favour, which it won by 189 votes to 47.

Earlier the government removed its proposed clause 18, which could have given it sweeping powers to block sites, but replaced it with an amendment to clause 8 of the bill.

Liberal Democrat MP, John Hemming, protested that this could mean the blocking of whistleblower sites. Stephen Timms for the government said that it would not want to see the clause used to restrict freedom of speech.

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