Britain will not contribute to the internet – copyright suicide proposed

A curious report on the BBC today, indicating that the British government is pretty much owned by the music and book publishing industries.

Under the plans users suspected of accessing or uploading illegally copied files will be sent letters from their internet service provider (ISP), delivered at least one month apart, informing them they are suspected of copyright infringement.

Accused users who wish to appeal against the claims outlined in any letter must pay £20 to do so, but the revised code says only grounds specified in the act will be considered.

‘”Innocent until proven guilty”?  What’s that?’

It is already hard to think of any site based in Britain that is widely used.  Nearly all the major internet sites are US-hosted.  Every internet start-up is a US firm, it sometimes seems.  Looking at this proposal, who’d be a British internet user?  Every one of them will soon be in breach of the law. 

Likewise who on earth would create a website?  Or a blog?  Sooner or later, the copyright trolls would come after them.  Who but major publishers will be able even to discover whether they are conforming to the ever-more aggressive copyright laws?  Am I in breach of copyright, for quoting the snippet above?  Well, I don’t know!

Britain, it seems, it committing copyright suicide. 

This proposal is one that could only be made by an industry utterly confident that it owns the government.  It’s about as extreme as it gets.  Do British internet users get no voice in their own country?  Well, one can only infer that apparently not. 

I have several times remarked on how there is little material worth reading in German on the web, and all of that is in older publications hosted in the US.  This is because German laws have handed far too much power to publishers, and they send threatening letters in just this way to bloggers and websites.

It seems that the Europeans just do not ‘get’ the internet.  In search of the last possible sniff of money, they have just condemned their continent to irrelevance, and volunteered for competitive disadvantage. 

I hope they enjoy learning Chinese.  Because, shooting themselves in the foot like this, they’re going to have to.

2 Responses to “Britain will not contribute to the internet – copyright suicide proposed”


  1. Maureen

    Obviously UK users are going to have to start using a lot more encryption and anonymization, and they’re going to have to use “the cloud” for storing files outside of the UK.

    It seems pretty clear that anybody could get accused of anything at any time: and the right of appeal includes a hefty fee, so it’s like a fine in itself.

  2. Roger Pearse

    So it would seem, rather as if they lived in China.