The amendment to do with web blocking and copyright from Tim Clement-Jones and Tim Razzall in the House of Lords has generated much discussion online. Yesterday we ran a piece from Lord Clement-Jones explaining his reasoning:
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.
You can read the full piece here, and in response the journalist and author Cory Doctorow (who is a party member too) has penned a piece over on BoingBoing:
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about the UK LibDem Peers’ introduction of a pro-web-censorship amendment to the Digital Economy Bill, the Peers have withdrawn their proposal and entered a revised one jointly with Conservative Lords.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.
He details five reasons ending with:
The only country to enact anti-web-locker legislation to date is South Korea, which brought in a similar measure to the LibDem proposal as a condition of its Free Trade Agreement with the USA, whose IP chapter focused largely on locking down the Korean Internet. In the time since the US-Korea FTA, Korea has slipped badly in the global league tables for ICT competitiveness, going from being a worldwide leader in technology to an also-ran.
You can read his piece in full here.
UPDATE: There’s been a vigorous debate in the party since this post, including an open letter from 25+ Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidates opposing the amendment. See the update here for more information.