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No Safe Harbour

Outgoing MP Mike Weatherley (pictured), who also recently stepped down from his post as Intellectual Property (IP) advisor to the Prime Minster has published a final paper on IP issues, with the focus on ‘safe harbour’ clauses.

The purpose of Weatherley’s paper is to provide input into the current review of European copyright law taking place in Brussels. ‘Safe harbour’ clauses were enacted during early Internet regulation and are more prevalent in the US, with DMCA takedown requests now routinely filed against the likes of Google. They are based on the premise that it is difficult or even impossible for ISPs to screen all content and therefore it must be accepted that it’s possible for them to inadvertently host content that is protected by copyright- taking into account certain requirements that the ISP must uphold.

Content owners have argued that Internet companies have misused such regulations to reject reasonable requests to stop third parties from distributing unlicensed content illegally online. This remains a hot topic in the UK, with the High Court recently ordering ISPs to block 17 mp3 sharing sites as reported here by Music Week.

The paper, entitled ‘Safe Harbour Provisions and Online Service Providers’, examines the background of safe harbour provisions, how they are perceived in various sectors and whether or not the provisions are working for online service providers, rights holders and individual consumers.

Mike Weatherley said: “As the former Intellectual Property Advisor to the Prime Minister, I felt that it was important to continue to highlight the issues that have grave consequences for our fantastic creative industries. The creative industries are huge contributors to our economy so it’s vital, in order to protect them, that the regulations which were set out in 2000 are updated. The broad scope of the Directive results in rights holders losing out to pirates on an industrial scale”.

Read the complete report here.

Weatherley, who will not stand at this year’s General Election, has also announced that he has been appointed as a patron of Attitude is Everything– a charity that campaigns to improve deaf and disabled people’s access at live music events, venues and festivals.

In related news, Manchester’s Band On The Wall venue has become the latest venue to be awarded Attitude is Everything’s Gold Status through the organisation’s Charter of Best Practice. Others to have received the highest accolade for accessibility include Glastonbury Festival, The O2 Arena and The Roundhouse in London, The Sage Gateshead and Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena. Find out more here.

As reported elsewhere, Generator and Attitude is Everything have announced a new three-month pilot scheme designed to improve access to live music in the North East.

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