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ISP Entanet UK Condemns Lack of Debate on Amendment 120A

Posted: 16th Mar, 2010 By: MarkJ
entanetNetwork operator Entanet UK has today joined several major ISPs, Internet firms and the ISPA in condemning the lack of proper debate over the Digital Economy Bill (DEB) and specifically Amendment 120A, which was passed out of the Lords and into the House of Commons last night.

Amendment 120A would force broadband ISPs into blocking any site deemed to contain "a substantial proportion" of content that infringes copyright. However the wording and method leaves far too much room for differing interpretations.

Darren Farnden, Entanet's Head of Marketing, wrote on the groups Opinion Blog:

"We completely agree with TalkTalk and ISPA that amendment 120A should have been properly debated with all the parties significantly impacted by this amendment and our views have been echoed by many other CPs including BT, Orange and Virgin and a number of Internet firms (including Ebay, Facebook, Google and Yahoo) who have collectively submitted an open letter to the FT to express their concerns.

...

It appears whilst attempting to solve the controversial issue of clause 17 the Lords have simply ignited a further debate. Whilst we agree with them that Clause 17 should be replaced and the Secretary of State should not have the proposed new powers, amendment 120A is far from a suitable solution. It simply raises even more issues.

Not only does it provide a potential bias in favour of the rights holders as many of the take down notices are unlikely to even make it to court, it also has a major impact on freedom of speech and creativity on the Internet and is potentially the first step along the rocky road towards censorship. A road I am sure none of us would like to travel down, at least not without significant debate."

The blog goes on to warn that the strategy itself will most likely not even work, with copyright infringers simply adapting to circumnavigate such strategies. Entanet concludes by calling on Rights Holders to stop fighting the Internet and adapt by "[developing] new distribution models."
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