UK: p2p three strikes clamp down despite civil liberties concerns

By EDRi · August 26, 2009

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Deutsch: [GB: das p2p drei Treffer-Schema greift trotz Bedenken über Bürgerrechte durch |]

A new proposal shows that the UK Government has given in to the pressure of
right holders who have complained that the measures proposed by the ‘Digital
Britain’ report were not powerful enough “to have a significant deterrent
effect on infringing behaviour”.

The new proposals would allow Lord Peter Mandelson, UK
Secretary of State, to approve automated sanctions against file-sharers (so
basically a three strikes scheme) and thus, practically, placing the
regulator Ofcom under Mandelson’s orders. Apparently, this follows a meeting
between Lord Mandelson and the David Geffen, head of Steven Spielberg’s
Dreamworks Studio.

The new proposal also takes into consideration British Recorded
Music Industry’s amendment addressed to the Copyright, Designs and Patents
Act proposing that ISPs should be made liable for copyright infringement and
obliged to introduce measures against infringers.

BIS seems to take for granted the opinion of the industry that all
file-sharing is unlawful and that the right solution is represented by
technical measures which actually imply automated network technology to
block websites and user connections.

One of these technical measures is what is called the deep packet inspection
implying the opening by the ISP of each data package. After checking out the
package content, the ISP can decide on interrupting the communication. This
is actually legal interception and is not allowed under EU laws including
the UK law. Technical measures are infringing Amendment 138 of the EU
Telecoms Package but all this does not seem to concern the UK Government.

In line with EU Commissioner Viviane Reding’s opinion expressed in July at
the Ludwig Erhard Lecture 2009 Lisbon Council in Brussels, UK MEP Tom
Watson, who has joined the online copyright enforcement debate, believes
drastic measures such as the automated suspension of the Internet connection
are not the best methods to deal with illegal file-sharing. In his opinion,
the policy-makers should rather consider assisting companies in creating new
business models and setting up efficient alternative distribution structures
for online music and entertainment works.

Mr Watson considers the technical measures are only in favour of an industry
that is not ready to change and that the government should find ways to
promote innovation and deal with the changes in the entertainment business
which develop along with the development of the IT technology.

UK 3-strikes – MP urges consultancy not censorship (20.08.2009)

Mandelson to sit in judgement on UK file-sharers (25.08.2009)

Government details how Digital Britain Report will become reality

UK anti-filesharing plans get the Mandelson touch (17.08.2009)

Digital Britain: Government vows to cut illegal file-sharing by 70%

BIS Implementation Plan of Digital Britain (08.2009)

Internet cut-off threat for illegal downloaders (25.08.2009)

EDRI-gram: EU Commissioner: Current business models encourage illegal
file-sharing (15.07.2009)