Cory Doctorow
March 4, 2010

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Since I posted yesterday about the UK LibDem Peers’ introduction of a pro-web-censorship amendment to the Digital Economy Bill, the Peers have withdrawn their proposal and entered a revised one jointly with Conservative Lords.

Unfortunately, this amendment is even worse in some ways. In a posting on Liberal Democratic Voice, Lord Clement-Jones explains that his amendment is intended to attack “web-lockers,” such as YouSendIt and RapidShare:

The Digital Economy Bill, as currently drafted, only deals with a certain type of copyright infringement, namely peer-to-peer file sharing. Around 35% of all online copyright infringement takes place on non peer-to-peer sites and services. Particular threats concern “cyberlockers” which are hosted abroad.

There are websites which consistently infringe copyright, many of them based outside the UK in countries such as Russia and beyond the jurisdiction of the UK courts. Many of these websites refuse to stop supplying access to illegal content.

It is a result of this situation that the Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment in the Lords which has the support of the Conservatives that enables the High Court to grant an injunction requiring Internet Service Providers to block access to sites.

The idea that web-lockers should be blocked nationwide by court order is a bad idea:

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