UK Government to reassess website blocking piracy measures

UK Government to reassess website blocking piracy measures

The government has asked the UK’s media regulator Ofcom to review part of the anti-piracy law from the Digital Economy Act to assess if the measures put in place are actually workable and consider the practicality of blocking websites that infringe copyright.

The government introduced new rulings as part of its crackdown on individuals accused of copyright infringement but after a campaign on the Your Freedom website, a site that allows users to nominate laws they would like to see the government get rid of, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has said “the government will look at whether we have the right tools for the job in addressing the problem of online copyright infringement”.

The number of complaints on the Digital Economy Act is not known but a government spokesperson did note that it was among the “most commented on” pieces of legislation.

The announcement doesn’t mean that the act will be withdrawn, instead Ofcom will be asked to consider if it is possible for an ISP to block a website, whether a block would be easy to circumvent, whether it is possible to block only certain parts of a website and the practical costs involved in an ISP implementing a block.

The Digital Economy Act does include provisions whereby a rights-holder can notify an ISP of the illegal downloading of its content and the ISP will be compelled to make the user aware of his/her actions, warn them of measures against their account and eventually throttle connections who repeatedly download illegally.

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