Conservative MP for South Swindon
Here is Robert's response to one constituent:
Thank you for your e-mail of 22nd June about web blocking and EDM 1913.
I recognise the scale of the problem of digital copyright infringement in the UK, and it poses a very real threat to Britain’s hugely successful creative industries. Aside from ethical concerns, it undermines creative expression and has the potential to seriously affect British jobs and the country’s economic recovery.
As you may know, illegal file-sharing costs the industry £400m a year and this is a very serious issue that must be addressed. To help combat this problem, the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, has asked Ofcom to review whether website blocking measures are workable. This review follows on from the public responses to the ‘Your Freedom’ consultation which was designed to give people a chance to tell Government which laws and regulations they think should be amended or revoked.
I know Mr Hunt and his departmental colleagues are aware of the Special Rapporteur's report. Ed Vaizey MP, the Communications Minister, has confirmed that the Government agrees with the individual right to free and uncensored access to the internet and that states should only interfere in exceptional circumstances. I also strongly believe that the degree of interference should be proportionate to the risks involved. I do not think that such measures should not be adopted lightly and that the Government will only do so if convinced that it is appropriate, proportionate, in accordance with international legal obligations and effective on the basis of evidence in the future.
I am pleased that the Government has responded to the Human Rights Council, welcoming the Special Rapporteur's report and supporting the general thrust of his conclusions and recommendations. I know that the Government is determined to continue supporting the Special Rapporteur’s work on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The Government is now considering the Ofcom review before deciding on the best way forward.
I’m afraid that I don’t sign EDMs as they have little legislative effect but I understand that the Government’s proposals are to be announced shortly and I await them with interest.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Robert Buckland MP