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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MattsworknameWilson: how? Im still waiting for my upgrade notice07/29/2015 - 3:44am
Matthew WilsonI updated to a clean instill of windows 10.07/29/2015 - 2:36am
Mattsworknameargue that it's wrong, but then please admit it's wrong on ALL Fronts07/29/2015 - 2:06am
MattsworknameTechnoGeek: It's actually NOT, but it is a method used all across the specturm. See Rush limbaugh, MSNBC, Shawn hannity, etc etc, how many compagns have been brought up to try and shut them down by going after there advertisers. It's fine if you wanna07/29/2015 - 2:05am
Mattsworknamediscussed, while not what I liked and not the methods I wanted to see used, were , in a sense, the effort of thsoe game consuming masses to hold what they felt was supposed to be there press accountable for what many of them felt was Betrayal07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAs we say, the gamers are dead article set of a firestorm among the game consuming populace, who, ideally, were the intended audiance for sites like Kotaku, Polygon, Et all. As such, the turn about on them and the attacking of them, via the metods07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAndrew: Thats kind fo the issue at hand, Accountable is a matter of context. For a media group, it means accountable to its reader. to a goverment, to it's voters and tax payer, to a company, to it's share holders.07/29/2015 - 2:02am
Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Banning in the legal sense? Not that I'm aware but there have certainly been groups of gamers who have worked towards getting content they don't like removed.07/28/2015 - 11:45pm
DanJAlexander's editorial was and continues to be grossly misrepresented by her opponents. And if you don't like a site, you stop reading it - same as not watching a tv show. They get your first click, but not your second.07/28/2015 - 11:40pm
TechnogeekYes, because actively trying to convince advertisers to influence the editorial content of media is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, especially for a movement that's ostensibly about journalistic ethics.07/28/2015 - 11:02pm
Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
MattsworknameIn tv, and radio, ratings are how it works. your ratings determine how well you do and how much money you an charge.07/28/2015 - 9:02pm
Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
MattsworknameAndrew, Im asking as a practical question, Have gamers, as a group, ever asked for a game, or other item, to be banned. Im trying to see if theres any cases anyone else remembers cause I cant find or remember any.07/28/2015 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
 

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