The government has released details of their alternative to the controversial Clause 18 of the Digital Economy Bill, which allows injunctions to be brought against websites that infringe copyright or even merely link to other websites that do.
The new clause maintains the "web blocking" provisions, but significantly lowers the bar for injunctions, now only requiring that it is "likely" that infringing content can be obtained from an online location, made available from an online location or can be used to access one of those locations.
There is also a new possibility for injunctions to be brought against locations that have fulfilled these criteria in the past, allowing for the retroactive blocking of websites.
Commenting on the new wording, Tim Dobson, Pirate Party PPC for the Manchester Gorton constituency, said:
"This confirms our worst fears: websites such as Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, YouTube and others will be at serious risk from being blocked in the UK, and now only a bare minimum of shaky 'evidence' will be required to do it."
Clause 18 replaced the equally controversial Clause 17 in the Bill as originally drafted that allowed the Secretary of State to amend the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. This newly proposed clause brings back this dangerous power, leaving it to the Secretary of State alone to decide whether or not any new regulations are justified or "proportionate".
The Pirate Party UK condemns the government's draconian and damaging proposals, and calls for the Digital Economy Bill to be dropped, pending a review of copyright law.