Lobbyists 'held closed-door meetings' with UK government to censor Web

Lobbyists 'held closed-door meetings' with UK government to censor Web

Summary: Meetings between government ministers and copyright lobbyists show plans are being drawn up to censor the British web, to prevent illegal file sharing.

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The UK government held secret committee meetings with company copyright officials, which may pave the way for the British web to be censored and blocked.

Ed Vaizey, current minister for culture, communications and creative industries, held meetings with copyright lobbyists to discuss the future of a free and open Web in the United Kingdom.

A plan leaked which describes a plan to create a committee of experts, which would go on to decide whether websites would be shut down and censored from the British public. Approved by an independent judge, a streamlined process would be created to allow the immediate blocking of a website.

The leaked documents can be found here.

While this plan has not been finalised, it shows the effort that the coalition government is going to in reducing file sharing and illegal copyright infringement on the web.

This could also have a significant impact on freedom of speech, for which British law does not have definitive legislation to fall back on; unlike the United States.

The story broke late last night. When public interest groups like the Open Rights Group asked to attend the high-level ministerial meetings, they were "shut out" -- leaving both sides of the argument firmly out in the cold.

The Digital Economy Act was brought in after the guillotine fell in Westminster, shortly before the 2010 general election. Since then, there have been numerous legal battles to repeal or to clarify the Act, which has wide ranging and vague powers to limit freedom of speech on the British internet.

One of the more controversial elements to the Digital Economy Act is the ability for government and judges to perform mandatory website and domain name blocking.

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Topics: Browser, Government, Government US

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7 comments
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  • I think it's ironic, that the movie industry ...

    ... created the blockbuster Avatar, which is about the government oppressing people for the sake of corporate balance sheets, when that very same industry is trying so hard to do the same thing to users worldwide, over their use of the Internet.
    P. Douglas
    • RE: Lobbyists 'held closed-door meetings' with UK government to censor Web

      @P. Douglas
      Well in fairness to them, it was a fantasy movie, in reality the government will always win.
      Much like the fantasy of freedom we have in the UK.
      Will T
  • RE: Lobbyists 'held closed-door meetings' with UK government to censor Web

    Pointless. If people want to view a blocked website, they will find ways of bypassing government blocks.<br><br>On a brighter note: <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13886440" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13886440</a><br><br><em>KPN (a Dutch ISP) is like "a postal worker who delivers a letter, looks to see what's in it, and then claims he hasn't read it</em><br>- Martijn van Dam Dutch Labor MP
    intman
    • RE: Lobbyists 'held closed-door meetings' with UK government to censor Web

      @intman That is a much brighter note -- one must say. North Europe really have their heads screwed on, regarding lot of issues, techy and social. :)
      zwhittaker
  • RE: Lobbyists 'held closed-door meetings' with UK government to censor Web

    Hey, to whom it may concern, censor this!

    *middle finger*
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: Lobbyists 'held closed-door meetings' with UK government to censor Web

    In spite of their national anthem, the Brits appear to like being ruled.
    nikacat
  • The graph the record industry doesn't want you to see

    From The Guardian's "The graph the record industry doesn't want you to see" (http://tgr.ph/1yHmRw):

    "It?s record labels and not artists who are losing out to the internet. Artists have taken more revenue over the last five years, even as record sales have fallen. Those are the findings of study by the Times Labs blog.

    With the aid of a couple of charts, the blog argues that music artists are better off in a world with illegal filesharing. This makes sense: recorded music is a pretty good advert for live performances. It also explains why the BPI, which represents the recorded music side of the industry, has been pushing so hard for Government action against illegal filesharers.

    It?s in their interest but not necessarily the artist?s, whatever Lily Allen might believe. [..] Expect the record industry to continue to try to get its business model enshrined in legislation."
    Psdie