ORG parliamentary and policy update/2014-w31

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This is ORG's Parliamentary and policy update for the week beginning 28/07/2014

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Official Meetings

Jim Killock and Elizabeth Knight attended a workshop on the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014. It was attended by academics, government representatives and industry stakeholders to brief them on the Act.

Javier Ruiz attended a meeting with the Cabinet Office to discuss data sharing and tailored public services.

Consultations and departments

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

Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit replaces ads with warnings on infringing websites

The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has began replacing ads on copyright infringing websites, with warnings to navigate away from the web page.

In its efforts to combat online copyright infringement, PIPCU began issuing requests to domain registrars to block access to infringing websites and created a list of infringing websites to discourage advertising.

During a pilot test last year, the number of ads from well-known websites fell by 12% (The Registar).


Communications Committee issues report recommending an end to online anonymity

The House of Lords Communications Committee has issued a report on "Social media and criminal offences" in which they propose to make mandatory for new users to sign up to websites with their real names before selecting a pseudonym. The report said that in order to combat criminal behaviour, it would be proportionate for "the operators of websites first to establish the identity of people opening accounts but that it is also proportionate to allow people thereafter to use websites using pseudonyms or anonymously". It went on to add "There is little point in criminalising certain behaviour and at the same time legitimately making that same behaviour impossible to detect." (Techdirt)

The report is available online.

Lords Committee brands 'right to be forgotten' ruling should be written out of future EU law

The House of Lords Home Affairs, Health and Education EU Sub-Committee said the European Court of Justice's 'right to be forgotten' ruling was unworkable and wrong in principle. ORG's Executive Director was invited to give evidence to the Committee several weeks prior to the publication of the report. The Committee's chairman, Lady Prashar said it was wrong in principle to allow search engines to decide what search results to remove and that it "does not take into account the effect the ruling will have on smaller search engines which, unlike Google, are unlikely to have the resources to process the thousands of requests"(Huffington Post).

Government Bills

Music industry may challenge private copying exceptions approved last week

A music industry body has said they may bring legal action against planned copyright exceptions, approved last week by a House of Commons committee, which will be brought into law in October 2014. They have concerns the exceptions will be introduced without a levy system to compensate rights holders (Out-Law).

Debates, questions and speeches

Question on future funding of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit

A question was asked on what the future funding of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) will look like. The Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, Baroness Neville-Jones said that the initial funding of £2.65 million was to establish the Unit, but the plan was to have it funded by industry stakeholders (Hansard).

International Developments

American Senator introduces bill to end bulk collection of phone records

American Senator, Patrick Leahy, introduced a bill on Tuesday to end the government's bulk collection of telephone and internet data. The proposed legislation would also prevent the amount of information that could be requested of a communications company, by being narrowed down to a specific set of search terms (Reuters).

A draft of the bill is available online in PDF

Russian government takes action to identify users of Tor

The Russian special technology and communications group has issued a reward of approximately 85,000 Euros to research and cipher the Tor network. The original reward was reported by news sources as a way to get “research work on the possibility to obtain technical information about users (user equipment) of the anonymous network Tor” (EDRi).

European Union

EU releases report on copyright consultations responses, majority in favour of reforms

The European Commission has issued a report on their consultation on copyright. The consultation garnered more than 9,500 replies and more than 11,000 messages. The report provides a question-by-question analysis of the response. Leonhard Dobusch has made an overall analysis of the responses and found the public was in favour of reforming copyright laws, while publishers were mostly against it ([Techdirt]).

The European Commission's report is available online (PDF) and Mr Dobusch's analysis is available on his website.

Law and Legal Cases

UK Data Retention Regulations published online

As part of the DRIP, the government has published the The Data Retention Regulations 2014, that came into force on 31 July. The document is available on

ORG Media coverage

See ORG Press Coverage for full details.

2014-07-31 - Hexus - Media format shifting legalised in the UK, but don't touch the DRM
Author: Mark Tyson
Summary:Article discussing the copyright exceptions for private copies with a quote from Jim Killock.
2014-07-31 - V3 - The UK legalises CD ripping, in some circumstances
Author:Dave Neal
Summary: Article discussing the copyright exceptions for private copies with a quote from Jim Killock.
2014-07-30 - Gigaom - The “right to be forgotten” can’t work on the internet, UK Lords argue
Author: David Meyer
Summary: Article discussing House of Lords committee disapproving of 'right to be forgotten' ruling

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