Both Ofcom and the UK government have decided that trying to
block illegal filesharing website was “too cumbersome and unworkable” and are instead looking at other ways of protecting copyright holders.
Business secretary Vince Cable has said that while site blocking
is not a realistic option of preventing illegal filesharing at the moment, other measures were
being investigated. Last year the Digital Economy Act proposed such site blocking
but a consultation document published by Cable has ruled it out for the moment.
“Music and film makers have to be able to take
effective and justified measures,” he said. “The basic philosophy is
we do recognise the need for protection, but it has to be protection that’s
proportionate to needs and based on evidence.”
One change which has been introduced however means that ripping
music from a CD you own is no longer illegal. “This brings the law into line
with, frankly, comon sense,” said Cable. “We need to have a legal framework
that supports consumer use rather than treat it as regrettable. We can’t say
that businesses should embrace technology but say to consumers they can’t use
technology for products they have paid for.”
There are still some issues to be ironed out however over
the storage of digital media in the cloud and Cable was not able to give any
details on this.
Communications minister, Ed Vaizey also spoke about the need
to protect copyright holders, talking about introducing a system where ISPs and copyright
holders would be able to come to an arrangement without having to go through
the expensive and lengthy court process.
“One of the things I’ve enabled is
conversations between ISPs and rights holders. I want to see if ISPs and rights
holders can come to agree a process to get facts together before going to
court. The key point is up to court to make a [final] decision.”
Last week we saw a landmark ruling when the courts in London
ordered BT to prevent its customers from accessing the filesharing site Newzbin2.