Thursday 17 May 2012

No more UK legislation on Internet Piracy (yet)

Hunt describes the size of the
internet piracy issue in the UK
The Guardian reports tonight that the long-awaited Communications Green Paper, originally promised to be unveiled to an expectant public last November, has been postponed until at least September.

Apparently the responsible minister, Jeremy Hunt, has some other stuff going on involving something called the Leveson enquiry and his relationship with certain newspaper proprietors, so it is felt to be an inauspicious time for him to be launching a new flagship policy.

Now, some of us would be surprised to learn that a Communications Green Paper, which is supposed to be the next step on the route to updating communications and broadcasting regulation, has anything to do with copyright law at all, but at least according to the Guardian, setting out the Government's position on Internet piracy is one of the areas which the paper is expected to cover.

This blogger is very surprised that the Government is planning to start poking its hand around in that particular hornet's next in a hurry. After all, the previous Government's Internet piracy legislation, passed some 2 years ago, is not really operative yet and the first letter writing campaign under it is not expected now to emerge until 2014, just as the French equivalent, the Loi Hadopi is under threat of being repealed by the new French administration, despite its apparent success.

Similarly, the hostile reception given to ACTA - riots in Brussels followed by Commissioner Kroes announcing its imminent demise and, in the United States, to SOPA might lead a pragmatic Government, let alone a Secretary of State who has other things on his mind (or possibly even his successor) to wonder whether further legislation on this particular topic is really such a bright idea, or whether a Communications Bill that could focus on other things might be better. After all, there might be said to be a good argument to hang fire until a measured judgement could be taken about the effectiveness of a combination of the forthcoming DEA implementation and the new ISP injunctions involving Newzbin and Pirate Bay.

We look forward to finding out in September (or, at least, not before....) where this issue is going.

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