The Open Rights Group (ORG) revealed earlier this week that a secret proposal had been presented to UK communications minister Ed Vaizey by rights holders. Consumer Focus, the official consumer watchdog, attended a meeting on June 15 where the paper was presented.
The Open Rights Group (ORG) were not invited to attend, nor were any similar groups.
"It is unacceptable for trade groups and government to conduct policy in this way. Censorship proposals must be made and discussed in public," said Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group.
"Many of us will oppose any censorship that impacts directly and widely on free expression. Governments would be wise to assess the strength of our arguments, rather than waiting for trade bodies to find their narrow, commercial arguments unravel once their proposals reach the light of day."
The proposals, which were presented by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the Publishers Association, the Football Association / Premier League and Motion Picture Alliance. The paper was titled, "Addressing websites that are substantially focused on infringement."
The plan would be to block websites that offer streaming copyrighted material for free, such as any of the hoards of websites that show football games live (or well, almost live.) The Digital Economy Act (DEA) allows for web blocking to be introduced, though secondary legislation would be required.
Consumer Focus commented that blocking wesites that offer football streams for free is a "disproportionate" response to the problem, arguing instead that a first step would be to assess whether the obvious consumer demand for streaming sports is being met by legal options.
Written by: James Delahunty @ 24 Jun 2011 0:08