Under amendments to the Digital Economy Bill the High Court could be given the power to issue an injunction against a website accused of hosting "substantial" amounts of copyright-infringing material. It means popular websites, such as YouTube, which often unwittingly carry content uploaded without the permission of copyright holders, could be "blocked" or forced offline if the amendment is upheld.
The Internet Service Providers Association, which represents ISPs, said it was "outraged" by the plans, while TalkTalk said the plans would force ISPs to restrict access to specific sites.
The proposed law do not restrict access to a few sites but only in the most serious cases, for instance those involving child pornography or issues of national security. But more to the point, making the restriction of websites a more widespread policy would be dangerous given its major impact on internet users' human rights, freedom of expression and privacy.
However the changes would be welcomed by content creators. This is going to send a powerful message to the creative industries that the value what they do, is well respected and it is not censoring the internet, but a genuine approach to copyright protection on internet. The companies like Google, which do major file sharing are planning to face the challenges.
Associate Professor of Law, KIIT Law School
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India, 751024.
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