ORG parliamentary and policy update/2014-w13

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This is ORG's Parliamentary Update for the week beginning 24/03/2014

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Official Meetings

Jim Killock met with Labour's Campaign for Human Rights on Monday. On tuesday he met with Dan Carey and ORG's legal team earlier in the week to discuss our ongoing court case against the UK government's mass surveillance programme, Privacy not Prism. He is also attending EDRi's (European Digital Rights) General Assembly in Copenhagen.

Javier Ruiz met with Mike Weatherley MP, David Cameron's IP advisor. They discussed copyright exceptions and enforcement and the possibility of ORG's involvement in future policy discussions.

Pam Cowburn had a meeting with Big Brother Watch, on Thursday, to discuss our joint campaign Don't Spy on Us

NSA and GCHQ updates

See our full list of the Guardian and Snowden’s revelations.

NSA monitored Chinese telecommunications giant

The NSA allegedly monitored the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, with the initial purpose of finding links between the company and the Chinese army, through project 'Shotgiant'. However, documents obtained by Edward Snowden, reveal the operation spread to exploiting equipment sold onto third parties.

  • The NSA programme began in 2007. By 2010 the NSA's Tailored Access Operations unit found a way to break into Huawei's Head Quarter's networks
  • Operation Shotgiant, would allow for the surveillance of computer and telephone networks sold to third parties, nations and allies who do not buy American products
  • Documents reveal the purpose of this programme: “Many of our targets communicate over Huawei-produced products (…) We want to make sure that we know how to exploit these products, (…) gain access to networks of interest”
  • The NSA was also interested in surveilling Huawei's key customers: Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya and Cuba through their undersea cables

Visit The New York Times for the full article.

Consultations and departments

A full list of open consultations and Parliamentary events can be found on our Events

Copyright exceptions amendments

See our blog for ORG's position on the developments.

In a major victory for ORG, the Intellectual Property Office has published their amendments to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. The amended legislation legalises private copying, parody, caricature and pastiche.

These are some of the amendments, regarding the effects to consumers:

Parody, caricature, pastiche

  • Under current legislation, parody can only be made lawfully by obtaining permission from the rights holder

Private Copying

  • Under current legislation, consumers are not allowed to make a private copy of a work they have purchased
  • Amendment: Private copies from one device to another are allowed on items owned by consumers
  • Making copies of streamed or borrowed works is still not permitted
  • Making copies of owned work, for friends and family, is not allowed
  • If you want to sell the original work and have made any personal copies, they must first be deleted.
  • A disabled person is allowed to make a copy of a work they have purchased, in order to make it more accessible, if they own the work
  • New exception for non-commercial data mining


  • Under current laws, quotations can only be used for news, criticism or review
  • Amendment: The use of quotations will not constitute copyright infringement if it is under 'fair dealing' and the original source is acknowledged

You can view the IPO's guidance notes for consumers online as well as the legislation's amendments. For an official press release, see the IPO's website.

If the amendments are approved by parliament, the laws will be in force from June 1 2014.


Amendments to award harsher punishments to online trolls

On Thursday, the criminal justice and courts bill committee, discussed amendments to the bill that would create harsher punishments for cyber trolls and cyber bullies. Currently, convicted offenders can only be given a maximum sentence of six months as they are tried at a magistrates court. the amendment will allow the cases to be tried at a crown court.

The amednments will be voted on later in the year (The Evening Standard).

International Developments

US president asks to end mass collection of US phone calls

On Thursday, president Obama, announced that he will be asking the American Congress to end the mass collection of American phone conversations. Under his proposals the NSA would have to first obtain an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and would only bypass the law under an emergency situation (American Civil Liberties Union).

Turkey bans YouTube, day after court overules Twitter

Following the block of Twitter in Turkey last Friday, a local court has ruled a reversal of the block. Deputy prime minister, Bülent Arinç, said "We will implement the court's decision. We might not like the court decision, but we will carry it out". (Guardian).

However, on Thursday, Turkey's Telecommunication Directorate, blocked YouTube, hours after a video of security meetings were leaked on the site (Hurriyet Daily News).

European Union

European Advocate General rules that Internet Service Providers could be held responsible for access to copyright infringement

Advocate General, Cruz Villalón, issued a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of article 5(w) and 2(b) and article 8(3) of directive 2001/29/EC. He found that ISPs can be viewed as intermediaries whose services are used to infringe copyright. They can thus be ordered to block their customers access to copyright infringing websites, however, without overriding fundamental rights (The Register). The complete ruling has been published online.

Commercial Stakeholders

The Guardian was threatened with closure after publication of Snowden files

At a Radiodays Europe conference, the deputy editor of the Guardian newspaper revealed that they were visited by intelligence officials who warned them of closure if they insisted on printing the documents obtained by Edward Snowden from the NSA. He said “We were threatened that we would be closed down. We were accused of endangering national security and people’s lives. It left us in a very difficult position”. He noted that this directly contrasted the reaction of the Us government to the news stories (The Irish Times).

ORG Media coverage

See ORG Press Coverage for full details.

2014-03-24 - Voluntary copyright alert programme could be operational before end of 2014, says UK government
Author: N/A
Summary: quoting blog entry by Jim Killock on the possibility of a voluntary copyright agreement

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