For the past few years the government has made it clear it wants a more active hand in the internet. Whether it's adding age verification gates to content unsuitable for under 18s (like porn), demanding social networks tackle hate speech and extremism more effectively, or simply to make using the internet "safer" - whatever that actually means.
This past weekend Digital Secretary Matt Hancock announced that the government wants laws ensuring internet safety within the next couple of years, and now the music industry has expressed a desire for those laws to tackle piracy.
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the British recording industry's trade association, have asked that the government also ensure these new laws, whatever they may be, also include measures to tackle online piracy. In fact, it had four specific requests it would like the government to consider:
- Establishing a new "fast track process" for the blocking of illegal sites, given the current cost of actually obtaining an injunction from the High Court
- Rules to stop content being reposted after it's been removed, and delete accounts belonging to repeat offenders
- Penalties for “online operators” who don't provide “transparent contact and ownership information.” No more specifics there, but piracy advocates are bound to be thrilled by that idea
- Legislation laying out a "new duty of care" for online platforms, forcing them to take "effective action" against businesses that encourage illegal activity
As TorrentFreak points out, these new rules seem to be focused on not just tackling pirate sites, but also any piracy-centric intermediaries. Monetised pro-piracy YouTube tutorials, sites that enable people to sell streaming hardware pre-configured for piracy, and so on.
BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said:
“This is a vital opportunity to protect consumers and boost the UK’s music and creative industries. The BPI has long pressed for internet intermediaries and online platforms to take responsibility for the content that they promote to users.
“Government should now take the power in legislation to require online giants to take effective, proactive measures to clean illegal content from their sites and services. This will keep fans away from dodgy sites full of harmful content and prevent criminals from undermining creative businesses that create UK jobs.”
Matt Hancock promised that there would be a white paper on the proposed legislation arriving later this year, which will feature collaboration from government ministries, the public, and charities. There hasn't been any mention of piracy, but I wouldn't be surprised if industry pressure meant the government added some anti-piracy sections to the legislation before it reaches parliament. [TorrentFreak]