|This article is outdated. Please update this section to reflect recent events or newly available information.|
File sharing has been a contentious issue in the UK and the UK government believed action would help drive the UK’s vital creative and digital sectors to bolster future growth and jobs. According to a 2009 report carried out by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry 95 per cent of music downloads are unauthorised, with no payment to artists and producers. Market research firm Harris Interactive believed there to be 8.3 million file sharers in the UK. Moreover the BPI claimed that in 1999 UK music purchases totalled £1,113 million but had fallen to £893.8 million in 2008.
The Digital Economy Bill has now become the Digital Economy Act 2010 which received Royal Assent on 9 April 2010. The Act may have serious repercussions for both file sharers and internet services providers.
Previous cases in the UK have seen internet users fined £2500 for sharing music on the internet. The Digital Economy Bill proposed that internet service providers (ISPs) issue warnings by sending letters to those downloading copyrighted files without authorization. Following this, the bill proposed that ISPs slow down or even suspend internet access for repeat offenders of unauthorized file sharing. The bill aimed to force internet service providers to disclose the identities of those offenders as well as making conditions for the regulation of copyright licensing. The Digital Economy Bill incorporated a graduated response policy despite the alleged file sharer not necessarily having to be convicted of copyright offences. The bill also introduced fines of up to £50,000 for criminal offences relating to copyright infringement – for example if music is downloaded with intent to sell. The high penalty is considered to be proportionate to the harm caused to UK industries. An appeals process exists whereby the accused can contest the case however concern has been expressed that this process will be costly and that, in requiring the individual to prove their innocence, the bill reverses the core principles of natural justice. Similarly, a website may be blocked if it is considered that it has been, is being, or is likely to be used in connection with copyright infringement meaning that a site does not actually have to be involved in copyright infringement – rather intent must be proved.
The implications of the Digital Economy Act on providers of public Wi-Fi access is uncertain. Responsibility for breaches could be passed on to the provider due to the difficulty in identifying individual users. The internet provider therefore may risk losing internet access or facing a hefty fine if an infringement of copyright takes place. Many libraries and small cafés for example may find this impossible to adhere to as it would require detailed logging of all those requiring internet access. In libraries in particular this may provide challenges to the profession’s importance of user privacy and could force changes in future policies such as Acceptable Use Policies (AUP). Public libraries utilise AUPs in order to protect creative works from copyright infringement and themselves from possible legal liability. However, unless the AUP is accompanied by the provision of knowledge on how to obey laws it could be seen as unethical, as blame for any breaches is passed to the user
The hospitality sector may also be affected by the Digital Economy Act. The British Hospitality Association has stated that hotels would have particular problems in providing details of guest’s internet access to Internet Service Providers and entire hotels may face disconnection. They have also expressed their concern that an individual's actions may lead to such a drastic outcome.
The bill was met with a mixed response. Geoff Taylor of the BPI claims the bill is vital for the future of creative works in the UK. Moreover, the Conservative spokesman for Culture and Media stated that those downloading should be given a criminal record. Conversely, Liberal Democrat spokesman for Culture and Media, Don Foster, claimed the bill was reckless and dangerous stating that children could unwittingly be file sharing causing an entire family to lose their internet connection. In addition to this, there was concern that hackers may access internet connections to download files and leave the bill payer responsible.
Internet service providers were also hostile towards the bill. TalkTalk stated that suspending access to the internet breached human rights. This view may be shared by many, as a survey carried out by the BBC found that 87% of internet users felt internet access should be the "fundamental right of all people". Certainly, people require access to the internet for many aspects of their life for example shopping, online banking, education, work and even socialising. Furthermore, Talk Talk Director of Regulation, Andrew Heaney has acknowledged that file sharing is a problem but the answer is to educate people and create legal alternatives. Heaney has also argued that disconnected offenders will simply create other user names to hide their identity and continue downloading. Talk Talk has claimed that 80% of youngsters would continue to download regardless of the bill and that internet service providers are being forced to police this without any workable outcomes
Virgin media also criticised the Digital Economy Bill believing it to be heavy handed and likely to alienate customers. Virgin advocated the development of alternative services which people would choose instead of file sharing.
The bill provoked protests in many forms. The Guardian reported that hundreds were expected to march outside the House of Commons on 24 March 2010. Moreover, an estimated 12,000 people sent emails to their MPs, through the citizen advocacy organisation 38 degrees. 38 degrees objected to the speed with which the bill was rushed through parliament, without proper debate, due to the imminent dissolution of parliament prior to a general election. In October 2009 TalkTalk launched its Don't Disconnect Us campaign asking people to sign a petition against the proposal to cut off the internet connections of those accused of unauthorized file sharing. By November 2009 the petition had almost 17,000 signatories and by December had reached over 30,000.
In addition to protests against the bill as a whole, the Pirate Party in the UK has called for non-commercial file sharing to be legalised. Formed in 2009 and intending to enter candidates in the 2010 UK general election, the Pirate Party advocates reform to copyright and patent laws and a reduction in government surveillance.
Other articles related to "united kingdom, united":
... was held in the Antilles in conjunction with units from the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands ... Austin and other Navy warships joined elements of the navies of Canada, Denmark, Norway, and the United Kingdom in conducting the two-part NATO Exercise "United Effort ... Dover, England, and shaped a course back to the United States ...
... In the United Kingdom, all general elections since 1935 have been held on a Thursday, and this has become a tradition, although not a requirement of the law — which only states that an election may be held on any ...
... II, Sikhs emigrated from both India and Pakistan, most going to the United Kingdom but many also headed for North America ... economic, with significant Sikh communities now being found in the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Malaysia, East Africa, Australia and Thailand ... favoured English-speaking countries, particularly the United Kingdom, have changed in the past decade due to factors such as stricter immigration procedures ...
... Orders in Council were controversially used in 2004 to overturn a court ruling in the United Kingdom which held that the exile of the Chagossians from the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT ...
... Main article Symbols of the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man The flag of the United Kingdom is the Union Flag (also referred to as the Union Jack) ... annexed to England prior to the formation of the United Kingdom the possibility of redesigning the Union Flag to include representation of Wales has not been completely ruled out ... The national anthem of the United Kingdom is "God Save the King", with "King" replaced with "Queen" in the lyrics whenever the monarch is a woman ...
Famous quotes containing the words kingdom and/or united:
“Ill give my jewels for a set of beads,
My gorgeous palace for a hermitage,
And my large kingdom for a little grave,
A little, little grave, an obscure grave.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)
“The veto is a Presidents Constitutional right, given to him by the drafters of the Constitution because they wanted it as a check against irresponsible Congressional action. The veto forces Congress to take another look at legislation that has been passed. I think this is a responsible tool for a president of the United States, and I have sought to use it responsibly.”
—Gerald R. Ford (b. 1913)