UK government kills Copyright Great Firewall, establishes user rights

The UK government has abandoned its plan to establish a copyright-based national firewall that media executives could use to block websites to which they objected. The proposal for a UK Great Firewall was part of the Digital Economy Act, but the expert reviews conducted by Professor Ian Hargreaves and the regulator Ofcom both advised against it. UK Business Secretary Vince Cable has, therefore, nixed the idea, which means that entertainment companies will actually have to win court injunctions ordering ISPs to block sites — still scary, but at least there's some due process there.

Meanwhile Cable has also announced that the government will include a parody copyright exemption in our fair dealing laws (until now, it's been illegal to reproduce copyrighted works for parodical purpose), a relaxing of the rules on format-shifting, and a rights clearninghouse to make it easier to license works for lawful use. A rare moment of common sense in UK copyright policy!

UK Government Abandons File-Sharing Website Blocking Plans