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Letter to Nicola Blackwood MP on site-blocking proposals

The following is a copy of the letter I sent to my MP (Nicola Blackwood, CON, Oxford West and Abingdon) regarding the proposal for a UK version of the US DMCA take-down notices.

Dear Nicola Blackwood,

Ed Vaizey, MP Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries
recently wrote in reply to a letter from the Open Rights Group [2]:

    Jeremy and I met with key players from the digital economy on 23 February to
    discuss developing new ways for people to access content online. Coming out of
    this meeting was a proposal for a Working Group to be formed to look at
    industry self-regulatory measures to tackle online copyright infringement
    through site-blocking.

I recognise that it is very important that consumer Interests are considered
very carefully, and we will be inviting consumer representative groups to
participate in future discussions on the issue.

As a self confessed civil libertarian [2] I'm sure you react as badly
as I do to extra-legal authoritarian solutions such as the site-blocking that
Vaizey clearly supports. I urge you to voice dissatisfaction with such a
proposal, and question the overly narrow remit of the Working Group.

"Industry self-regulatory" measures such as the US DMCA support for take-down
notices are prone to abuse by aggressive rights-holders; particularly with
regard to social media sites such as Youtube. It should be clear to anyone why
they are popular with large corporate rights holders and unpopular with
(legally) creative individuals.

Yours sincerely,
Craig Loftus

[1] http://www.theyworkforyou.com/pbc/2010-11/Protection_of_Freedoms_Bill/06-0_2011-03-29a.2.0?s=speaker%3A24842#g2.86
[2] http://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2011/minister-confirms-voluntary-site-blocking-discussions

Posted on 01 Apr 2011

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