You can’t solve social problems with technology

Posted on Dec 13 2013 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | 1 Comment

Two hot topics continuing to hit the news are the ongoing battles of tackling copyright infringement and the even more difficult problem of combating the promotion of ‘extremism’ online. The European Court of Justice and the UK Government respectively have taken a strong view on these and have been making a lot of noise. The problem is, it’s not sensible noise.

Paul

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager

As if British businesses didn’t already have enough on their plates dealing with their own government, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) could soon add to UK ISPs’ headaches by requiring them to block websites deemed to be infringing copyright. Apparently we’ve got the court’s Advocate General Pedro Cruz Villalón airing his opinion that “…the internet provider of the user of a website which infringes copyright is also to be regarded as an intermediary whose services are used by a third party…and therefore also as a person against whom an injunction can be granted”.

ISPreview.co.uk: EU Ruling Could Extend Internet Piracy Website Blocking to All ISPs

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You can’t keep a good legislator down

Posted on May 14 2013 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | 2 Comments

As a company which empowers ISPs, Entanet monitors developments in copyright law.

There’s a great quote from Steve Jobs:

Paul

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager


“From the earliest days of Apple I realized that we thrived when we created intellectual property. If people copied or stole our software, we’d be out of business. If it weren’t protected, there’d be no incentive for us to make new software or product designs. If protection of intellectual property begins to disappear, creative companies will disappear or never get started. But there’s a simpler reason: it’s wrong to steal. It hurts other people, and it hurts your own character.”

Copyright matters to everyone in business. While the Communications Data Bill plainly met its demise as marked in the Queen’s Speech this week, another catchily-titled bill, picking up its cousin’s theme of leaving those pesky details to slink through later by Statutory Instrument, gained Royal Assent.

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Is the DEA old before its time?

Posted on Jul 12 2012 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Is the DEA old before its time?

We’re not fans of the DEA, that’s no secret, but it’s been two years since its ‘back door’ entry into law and we have seen very little progress. In fact last month, with the launch of it’s Initial Obligations Code, Ofcom announced that the controversial three strikes warning letters will not commence until 2014 – a whole four years after the law was passed! With so much notice, surely the most prolific infringers will have discovered even more ways to circumvent the DEA by the time it’s enforced. So we ask, is the DEA old before its time?

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

The Digital Economy Act (DEA) was the brain child of Lord Mandelson who controversially passed it into UK law through the pre-parliamentary wash-up. This meant it received very little parliamentary discussion before becoming an Act – much to the dismay of ISPs and other objectors across the country. However, two years on and we’re still waiting for one of the most debated aspects of the DEA to be implemented – the three strikes policy. This will see copyright infringers receive warning letters and potentially face court action from the copyright holders and even disconnection from the Internet if they persist with their unlawful behaviour.

In Ofcom’s recent announcement of its Initial Obligations Code it states: “Ofcom will now consult on the revised draft code. Subject to further review by the European Commission, it will be laid in Parliament around the end of 2012. ISPs will then prepare to meet their obligations, and Ofcom will appoint an appeals body. Ofcom currently expects the first customer notification letters to be sent in early 2014.”

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UPDATE: ACTA rejected by European Parliament

Posted on Jul 06 2012 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on UPDATE: ACTA rejected by European Parliament

For once common sense has shone through and the European Parliament has rejected the controversial ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). An overwhelming 478 voters rejected the treaty with just 39 for and 165 abstentions, which means that neither the EU nor any member states can join the agreement. The result was met with smiles and applause as well as a number of representatives holding up boards that stated “Hello democracy, Goodbye ACTA”.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

This highly controversial agreement, which was yet another of Mandelson’s bright ideas (well in terms of pushing it through the EU anyway), was finally rejected because of its potential impact on civil liberties and due to the ambiguity of the agreement. From the start this agreement has been discussed in secret with little access to the terms of the agreement or the draft documents, until they were leaked that is.

Once the detail (or lack of it) became known, ACTA and its US counterpart SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) prompted international ‘black outs’ from major websites and organisations including Wikipedia.

The rejection of ACTA came as no real surprise to many as the Parliament representatives had in fact been advised to reject it by the ACTA Rapporteur, David Martin who said: “My strong recommendation is that we reject the ACTA treaty. This time the devil is in the lack of detail. A vague text is dangerous and we cannot guarantee that civil liberties will be protected.”

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Update: ACTA quietly slips into the UK by the back door

Posted on Feb 08 2012 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Update: ACTA quietly slips into the UK by the back door

Yet again the UK Government has pushed through controversial legislation without proper scrutiny in order to satisfy the demands of the powerful entertainment industry and to the detriment of the Internet industry.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Previously it was the DEA that was passed through hurriedly as part of the wash-up. Now ACTA (the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement), which aims to establish an international trade agreement to combat the issue of counterfeit goods and establish international standards for copyright enforcement, has been passed through as part of an agriculture and fisheries meeting!

Perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised, after news in December that the Council of the European Union had approved the treaty even though the secretive way in which this agreement has been treated was criticised. Worryingly this agreement was signed just weeks after several high profile websites including Wikipedia observed a ‘blackout’ in protest of the US Government’s proposed SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), a similar Act that has since been postponed.

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Poll: Which of the following issues will most greatly affect the Internet market in 2012?

Posted on Dec 05 2011 by Gemma Dickinson | 1 Comment

It’s been a busy year for the Internet industry with lots of controversial issues and news affecting ISPs, consumers and other industry bodies. We have covered many of these items on this opinion website. However, we would like to know your thoughts. Which of the issues raised in 2011 do you think will most greatly affect the Internet market in 2012? You can let us know your opinions on this by participating in our poll or by leaving us a comment below.

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Guilty without charge?

Posted on Dec 01 2011 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Guilty without charge?

Nominet caused controversy recently when it announced its draft proposals to take down websites alleged to be facilitating copyright infringement without a court order. Despite Nominet’s insistence that this will only be applied as a last resort where there is a clear risk of “imminent serious harm”, a number of industry bodies have expressed their concern with the proposals.

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

ORG (Open Rights Group), ISPA (Internet Service Providers’ Association) and LINX (London Internet Exchange) have all criticised the draft proposals on the grounds that the take down is being applied without a fair trial and there currently appears to be no appeals process.

ORG argues: “ORG’s understanding is that Nominet’s current practices fail to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention). It is an Article 6 right under the Convention to have an open fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Article 6 rights cannot be waived.”

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A trio of summer announcements for ISPs

Posted on Sep 08 2011 by Guest | Comments Off on A trio of summer announcements for ISPs

As members of ISPA (Internet Service Provider’s Association) we thought it would be very useful to gather the industry association’s thoughts on some of the latest issues to affect our industry. Nicholas Lansman, ISPA Secretary General, therefore discusses three of the most controversial issues that have been announced over the summer and explains how these issues may affect ISPs.

Nicholas Lansman, ISPA Secretary General

Nicholas Lansman, ISPA Secretary General

1. Newzbin2 decision – blocking is not a silver bullet
Three announcements were made over the summer with implications for ISPA members. The first announcement was the landmark decision by the High Court in the UK ordering BT to block access to the Newzbin2 site. The site makes unlicensed film, music and applications available to its subscribers.

The Motion Picture Association (MPA) brought the case to court and the judge ruled that BT had actual knowledge of other persons using its service to infringe copyright and can therefore be required to block access.

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Ofcom takes an axe to the DEA on website blocking

Posted on Aug 09 2011 by Darren Farnden | 1 Comment

Plans to block illegal file sharing websites first established within the controversial Digital Economy Act last year, have finally been scrapped by the government thanks to a review of the policy by Ofcom and its conclusion that the measures are ineffective.  At the same time Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, Vince Cable, announced the government has accepted all 10 of the recommendations from Professor Ian Hargreaves’ review of intellectual property law.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), in its official response entitled ‘Next Steps for implementation of the Digital Economy Act’, confirmed: “Following advice from Ofcom – we will not bring forward site blocking regulations under the DEA at this time. We will do more work on what other measures can be pursued to tackle online copyright infringement.” What these measures will be, however, is not mentioned.

The statement is somewhat surprising after recent news (opinion.enta.net: ISPs lose first court battle against website blocking) that the High Court had ruled in favour of the Motion Picture Association by forcing BT to block access to alleged piracy site Newzbin2 and it suggests that the government’s plans are at odds with the ruling. This is understandable when you think about the length of time and the resources it would take to bring each case to court. Many feared this ruling would be the start of a long line of court orders, with right holders dragging ISPs through the courts to get their own way. We’re now hoping this decision will help prove that blocking websites isn’t as easy as right holders make out.

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ISPs lose first court battle against website blocking

Posted on Aug 01 2011 by Darren Farnden | 1 Comment

The verdict in the case between the MPA (Motion Picture Association) and BT has been announced. The High Court has ruled that BT will be forced to block access to the Newzbin2 website which provides links to pirated content.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

The entertainment industry are hailing this as a victory and describing this first battle as a “test case which has set legal precedent”. They now intend to take other major ISPs down the same legal path.

The presiding judge, Justice Arnold,  said the following on the ruling:

“In my judgment it follows that BT has actual knowledge of other persons using its service to infringe copyright: it knows that the users and operators of Newbin2 infringe copyright on a large scale, and in particular infringe the copyrights of the Studios in large numbers of their films and television programmes, it knows that the users of Newzbin2 include BT subscribers, and it knows those users use its service to receive infringing copies of copyright works made available to them by Newzbin2.

In general, I am satisfied that the order sought by the Studios is a proportionate one. It is necessary and appropriate to protect the Article 1 First Protocol rights of the Studios and other copyright owners. Those interests clearly outweigh the Article 10 rights of the users of Newzbin2, and even more clearly outweigh the Article 10 rights of the operators of Newzbin2. They also outweigh BT’s own Article 10 rights to the extent that they are engaged.

The order is a narrow and targeted one, and it contains safeguards in the event of any change of circumstances. The cost of implementation to BT would be modest and proportionate.”

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