The UK’s new Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, has been discussing how he plans to help content producers protect their work via anti-piracy measures. He has called on internet firms, advertisers and credit card companies to sever ties with websites that link to copyright content. So, that’d be Google and every other search engine as well?
He made this “hard hitting speech” (according to BBC News) at the Royal Television Society, whatever that is.
In the speech he said that blocking pirated content wasn’t infringing on net neutrality.
“Unlawfully distributing copyrighted material is theft – and a direct assault on the freedoms and rights of creators of content to be rewarded fairly for their efforts,” he said.
Except it’s not theft. Nothing is taken. It’s a copy.
“We do not allow certain products to be sold in the shops on the High Street, nor do we allow shops to be set up purely to sell counterfeited products. Likewise we should be entitled to make it more difficult to access sites that are dedicated to the infringement of copyright,” he added.
Why should you be entitled? You don’t own the internet. It’s the one place where people can say what they want, and access any information they like. Don’t screw it up.
Jim Killock, chief executive of the Open Rights Group has said he agrees that Mr Hunt isn’t informed enough to be making these claims.
“Once again Mr Hunt has listened to the lobbyists and has made no attempt to work out the scale of the problem. We are back where we were with the DEA, which is proving unworkable and an expensive nightmare,” he said.
Asking Google and other sites to sever ties is the internet equivalent of vigilante justice. Apply this to the real world and anyone accused of a crime should be ostracised. This is Mr Hunt’s plan.
“Our free press has served us incredibly well. So we don’t want any changes to result in the back-door imposition of statutory broadcast-style regulation. But if we are to avoid this, the public will insist on a system of robust, independent regulation with credible sanction-making power,” he said.