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Monday, July 4, 2011

Leaked: UK copyright lobby holds closed-door meetings with gov't to discuss national Web-censorship regime

Cory Doctorow

A group of UK copyright lobbyists held confidential, closed-door meetings with Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries to discuss a plan to allow industry groups to censor the Internet in the UK. The proposal has leaked, and it reveals a plan to establish "expert bodies" that would decide which websites British people were allowed to see, to be approved by a judge using a "streamlined" procedure. The procedure will allow for "swift" blocking in order to shut down streaming of live events.

Public interest groups like the Open Rights Group asked to attend the meeting, but were shut out, presaging a regulatory process that's likely to be a lopsided, industry-centric affair that doesn't consider the public. The process is characterised as "voluntary," but the proposal makes reference to the Digital Economy Act, which allows for mandatory web-blocking (thanks to the action of LibDem Lords who submitted a proposal written by a record industry lobbyist as an amendment to the DEA).

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