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Filesharing Sites Won't Be Blocked In UK

David Gilbert


Logo - Ofcom

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."

Vince Cable filesharing

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.

Source: Ofcom


August 3, 2011, 8:35 pm

A politician talking some sense? I am beyond impressed - let's see if anything concrete actually comes out of this.
About ripping: is this going to be limited to audio CDs or will it also include DVDs/Blu-rays, as reported on Slashdot? If we are legally allowed to format shift only when the content is not encrypted, as is in the US under the DMCA, this concession really doesn't amount to much.

David Gilbert

August 3, 2011, 9:08 pm

Apologies if it wasn't clear but the change in law covers all media including Blurays/DVDs as long as they're for your own use.


August 4, 2011, 12:57 am

kaworu1986: It's not a politician talking some sense, it's Vince Cable talking some sense. This means that within 5 minutes his colleagues in government will have overruled him and insisted that Vince has been a naughty boy and we WILL in fact be blocking sites...


August 4, 2011, 3:26 am

The cloud? They've only just caught up with mp3 players!


August 4, 2011, 4:04 pm

I'm sure what was implied is that ISP's won't be responsible for site blocking at the request of copyright holders. However there would be a government blacklist of some sort that would be enforceable across all ISPs.

Denis iii

August 4, 2011, 6:07 pm

Blocking file sharing will result in people turning to pirated DVD movies and Music CD's which the profit of goes directly to criminal organizations.
If you want to stop piracy make it easier to consume media legally then pirated media.

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