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The Internet

Submission + - ACTA rejected by European Parliament (torrentfreak.com)

Grumbleduke writes: Today the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to reject the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Despite attempts by the EPP Group to delay the vote until after the Courts have ruled on its legality, the Parliament voted against the Treaty by 478 to 39; apparently the biggest ever defeat the Commission has suffered.

However, despite this apparent victory for the Internet, transparency and democracy, the Commission indicated that it will press ahead with the court reference, and if the Court doesn't reject ACTA as well, will consider bringing it back before the Parliament.

Censorship

Submission + - The UK's very own DMCA; only worse. (pirateparty.org.uk)

Grumbleduke writes: During today's debate in the UK's House of Lords on the much-criticised Digital Economy Bill the unpopular Clause 17 (that would have allowed the government to alter copyright law much more easily than it currently can) was voted out in favour of a DMCA-style take-down system for websites and ISPs. The new amendment (known as 120A) sets up a system whereby a copyright owner could force an ISP to block certain websites who allegedly host or link to infringing material or face being taken before the High Court (and made to pay the copyright owner's legal fees). This amendment was tabled by the Liberal Democrat party who had so far been seen as the defenders of the internet and reason and with the Conservative party supporting them passed by 165 to 140 votes. The UK's Pirate Party and Open Rights Group have both strongly criticised this new amendment.

The Bill is currently in Report stage in the House of Lords, and will then and will then have to pass through the (elected) House of Commons. The government has indicated its desire to push through the legislation before the upcoming election.

The Internet

Submission + - UK's Anti-filesharing Bill Could Breach Human Righ 1

Grumbleduke writes: The UK Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights has recently reported on the controversial Digital Economy Bill which seeks to restrict the connections of anyone accused of infringing copyright using the internet. According to the BBC, the committee noted the lack of details in the Bill as it stands, asking for "further information" from the government on several issues. They also raised concerns that some punishments under the bill could be "applied in a disproportionate manner" and said that the powers the bill granted to the Secretary of State (i.e. Lord Mandelson) were "overly broad". These echo the concerns raised in recent months by the Open Rights Group, a consortium of web companies including Facebook, Google, Yahoo and eBay and the UK's Pirate Party.

The Bill is currently being scrutinised by the House of Lords and if it passes there, will likely be forced through the Commons quickly, despite the opposition from the public, industry and members of parliament. The committee's full report can be found on the parliament website, here.

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