22nd March 2011 16:07
Pirate Party Alarmed by Extra-Judicial Web Blocking Initiative
This statement can be downloaded here.
The Pirate Party UK has learned that the Motion Pictures Association (MPA), British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Communications Minister Ed Vaizey are urging British Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to implement a new and secretive extra-judicial web-blocking scheme. This scheme is intended to block websites alleged to facilitate copyright infringement, after copyright industry impatience due to delays in the implementation of the Digital Economy Act.
Loz Kaye, leader of the Pirate Party UK, comments, "The fact that the Digital Economy Act is currently under judicial review should show some indication of the controversial and draconian nature of such measures. This is another example of the copyright industry trying to subvert the democratic and judicial processes to enforce their outdated business models at the expense of the rights of ordinary citizens."
The Pirate Party UK is deeply concerned at the precedent that actions of this nature set. "We have already seen filters such as these cause collateral damage as evidenced by the Internet Watch Foundation blacklisting Wikipedia in 2008 due to the cover art for the Scorpions' 1976 album 'Virgin Killer'."
Finlay Archibald, Pirate Party Scottish Election candidate for Glasgow region, added "The internet has become a key part of our society, how we interact and communicate, and is regarded as a vital resource by many people in Britain today. I think that they will be shocked at how out of touch politicians and business leaders are in calling for these draconian measures, where what content will be blocked will be decided not by the customer, or the law, but who has the most money."
The websites likely to be blocked by these measures do not usually host any content themselves, and merely act as search engines similar to Google or Yahoo. These measures will also no doubt infringe on people's ability to share content that is either under permissive licenses or in the public domain and is therefore harming their perfectly legal activity too. We do not believe that such indiscriminate and unaccountable blanket restrictions are appropriate.
"It is unfortunate that, despite their record profits in the age of digital sharing, the copyright industries still seem intent on breaking the internet. Unfortunately, for now it seems, the politicians are following along too", Archibald concludes.