Mandelson seeks to amend British copyright law in new crackdown on filesharing

Lord Mandelson is seeking to amend the laws on copyright to give the government sweeping new powers against people accused of illegal downloading.But Labour colleagues are concerned that if he succeeds it could give a future Tory government the ability that Rupert Murdoch wants to quash Google.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/nov/19/mandelson-copyright-filesharing-murdoch-googleAlso see:The Minister for Digital Britain, Stephen Timms, outlines the key themes of the Digital Economy Bill, which was published on 20 November 2009:Push starts to make ‘Digital Britain’ law
The culmination of more than a year’s work on boosting a “Digital Britain” was published on Friday as the UK government put forward legislation to tackle illegal file sharing and abuse of internet domain names, protect local news provision and add age ratings to video games.However, completion of the mission to “reboot Britain”, begun by Lord Carter in October last year, is at risk of falling victim to a constrained parliamentary timetable.
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6e66bcd0-d5c9-11de-b80f-00144feabdc0.htmlDigital Economy Bill gets tough on file-sharers
People who unlawfully download copyrighted material could be disconnected from their internet accounts as part of the Digital Economy Bill, a major overhaul to the UK’s technology legislation.The bill, unveiled on Friday, will oblige ISPs to send notifications to customers who are suspected of infringing copyright. ISPs will also be forced to record the number of notifications a user has received and send this data to rights holders, such as record companies, so they can apply for a court order for the user’s name and address.
http://news.zdnet.co.uk/communications/0,1000000085,39893271,00.htm

A world class Digital Economy for Britain [news release]

The Digital Economy Bill, introduced today, sets out Government plans to ensure the UK is at the leading edge of the global digital economy.Published jointly by the Department for Business and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Bill aims to support growth in the creative and digital sectors and includes measures aimed at tackling widespread online infringement of creative copyright, such as peer-to-peer file-sharing.Other key proposals look to strengthen the UK’s communications infrastructure, such as superfast broadband, via the introduction of new Ofcom duties to encourage investment.The Bill also puts in place measures to protect the creation of a range of engaging public service content, from multiple providers, on multiple platforms. Specifically, it addresses the urgent need for action to secure provision of news in the nations, locally and in the regions.Lord Mandelson said:
“On current definitions our digital economy accounts for nearly £1 in every £10 that the whole British economy produces each year – so our creative and digital industries are key to Britain’s future economic success. This Bill will give them the framework to develop competitively and make the UK a global creative leader.”Better protecting our creative communities from the threat of online infringement will ensure existing and emerging talent is rewarded and will bring new choices for online consumers.””Creating the right conditions for investment in our communications infrastructure will bring benefits for households and businesses in all parts of the country.”Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw said:
“Our digital economy is worth around 8% of GDP.”Britain’s creative industries have become number one in the world as a proportion of our economy.”This Bill is a key part of the Government’s active industrial strategy and will maintain and build on Britain’s leading position. It includes measures to ensure universal broadband, the protection of music, film and other creative content and the future of quality local and regional news. The market will not provide these things, only Government action can.”

Key measures in the Digital Economy Bill

Online infringement of copyrightTake action on unlawful peer-to-peer filesharing by obliging individual ISPs to take action against infringers.An update to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act so that if, in future, new communications technologies allow creative content to be unlawfully copied in new ways, remedies can be developed and implemented more quickly and flexibly than might otherwise be possible.Extended Collective LicensingModernise the copyright licensing system to make it simpler and quicker for licensing societies to make content available online to consumers and to support innovative commercial services that rely on copyright material.Orphan worksUnlock large volumes of previously unusable cultural content or ‘orphan works’ where the rights holder cannot be identified or found, for public and commercial use.Independent and high quality newsSupport the plurality of regional and local news, giving Ofcom powers to appoint and fund Independently Funded News Consortia and future proof Channel 3 and Channel 5 licensees, including adjusting requirements of Channel 3 licence holders to produce or broadcast Gaelic programming.Public Lending RightsExtend public lending rights to include digital material such as audio and e-books. This will mean producers and artists who have created this content will be rewarded when material is lent out from public libraries.Digital infrastructure and contentGive Ofcom new duties to promote investment in communications infrastructure where this is needed and to make a formal assessment of the UK’s communications infrastructure every two years. Alongside this a new duty for Ofcom to encourage investment in public service content where this is needed.Internet domain namesEnsure the efficient allocating and registering of internet domain names in the UK by taking reserve powers.Digital radioUpdate the regulatory framework to prepare for moves to digital switchover for radio by 2015.Channel 4 CorporationUpdate its functions to encompass public service content on all media platforms – online as well as television – to make it fit for the digital age.Mobile and wireless broadbandEnable development of next generation mobile broadband services by allowing for the charging of periodic payments such as Adminstered Incentive Pricing on auctioned spectrum licences and allowing OFCOM to levy monetary penalties for failure to meet certain licence conditions.Video gamesProtect children by making age ratings compulsory for all boxed games designed for those aged 12 or above.Notes to editors:1. The Digital Economy Bill is a joint Bill between the Department of Business Innovation and Skills and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It was published today, 20 November 2009.
2. For youtube clips, FAQs and other digital media information, visit: www.bis.gov.uk/digitaleconomybill3. The Bill is the legislative programme that realises many of the recommendations made in the Government’s Digital Britain White Paper, published on 16 June 2009. A copy can be found at: services.parliament.uk/bills/2009-10/digitaleconomy.htmlThis Department for Business, Innovation and Skills news release was sourced from:
nds.coi.gov.uk/content/detail.aspx?NewsAreaId=2&ReleaseID=408781

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