back to article Ofcom says no to web-blocking

Several decisions made today have far-reaching implications for every UK internet user. Telco quango Ofcom has effectively killed web-blocking reserve powers that were passed into law a year ago, by arguing that they probably won't work. The government also announced today that it is endorsing all the proposals made in Ian …


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  1. Tom Chiverton 1


    So we're blocking using the child porn filter for business reasons, but upgrading it to whole domains ? So is banned, but wont be ?

    And the rich can keep paying 20 quid a time and infringe what they like, while the poor innocents are guilty until they prove innocence, assuming they have the cash ?

    This does not sound good.

  2. ph0b0s

    "Web-blocking dead for now"

    Unless a judge says it's all right. So not quite that dead then.....

    1. ph0b0s

      More meant ....

      that I found it funny an article saying web blocking due to copyright was dead, a few days after a judge orders BT to block a website due to copyright. So clear as mud then.

      1. TakeTheSkyRoad

        Well that's surely going to be applied per infringement

        Probably not intended BUT lawers will split into into a change per infringement so say they've found 1,000 mp3 tracks on your hardware which look suspect then of course you can appeal but that's 1,000 infringements.... cost to yourself of £20,000 refundable of course, eventually.

        I am a cynical person sometimes but unless there's a clause to stop the above I bet it will be tried.

        1. SImon Hobson Bronze badge


          >> ... lawers will split into into a change per infringement so say they've found 1,000 mp3 tracks on your hardware which look suspect then of course you can appeal but that's 1,000 infringements.... cost to yourself of £20,000 ...

          But it's going to cost them a lot more than £20 per charge to submit the charges - so they aren't going to spend upwards of £100k or more unless they really, really, REALLY think they'll not get kicked out of court by a judge (or out of the tribunal by the panel). And talking of being kicked out of court by the judge (or out of the tribunal by the panel), I suspect a stunt like throwing 1000 separate charges would be thrown out as an abuse of procedure.

          All in all, I think that bit seems proportionate.

          What really irks is that the "you can steal copyright by a lame search intended not to find the true owner" measured that have resurfaced. As the article points out, that will fail again as too many people will be against it, AND I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't conflict with the Berne Convention.

      2. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re More meant ....

        These proposed regulations are dead because they are not needed. Binning them was in response to the BT court case which shows there is already a mechanism to do what they wanted to do.

  3. Piloti

    Copyright and "personal use..."

    So, the thing that interests me is that it now seems to be ok for me, for my personal use, to rip my dvd's and transfer files types from A to B.

    Logically, therefore, I can take a file from Audible, for example, and legally rip it into OGG or mp3. Or am I wrong ? And the same therefore for that awful Apple audio thing that ties users into using I Tunes. So if I were to buy something from Apple I can legally rip out the DRM and make it playable on my Linux machine, for example ? In which case, Apple / Audible et al could just not DRM them, like Amazon do. Or Ubuntu. Or am I being just a wee bit utopian here.... ?


    1. PaulR79

      Hold on there

      I'm not an Apple fan at all, far from it, but iTunes music is DRM free now. I seem to remember that clearly from something I read here on el reg a while ago and being able to play the files without issue using good old Media Player Classic proved that it had no DRM. I realise it's about more than music now so I'm only commenting on the music side.

    2. Alien8n

      As Above

      Apple is now DRM free. More to the point iTunes comes complete with an option to convert from AAC to MP3 so that you can play music on any MP3 compatible machine.

      Reading into the story it's not clear that all format shifting will be legalised, it may just be shifting from physical to digital. I've not had a chance to read the full proposals yet, but I'm hoping that they will be legalising format shifting between digital formats as well as physical to digital. However the proposal does make it clear that the shifted copy must be made from a legally sourced original. No downloading a dodgy MP3 copy and then shifting it to a nice, legal AAC copy.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      DVDs have got copy protection on them. I now have a legal right to rip my DVDs so I can watch them from my laptop when I'm away from home without having to cary a pile of DVDs round with me.

      But Universal, Sony etc have copy protected those DVDs which means they are stopping me from doing something I'm legally entitled to do.

      1. johnsmith999

        Nothing has really changed

        Do you think the Government knew that before saying that format shifting was going to be allowed?

        The Governement says i am allowed to rip my DVD but the DVD is encrypted and copy protected means that i cannot without breaking the encryption by using software, which is still against the law technically, therefore i still cannot legally rip my DVD!

        So in effect nothing is changing, it is still against the law to rip a DVD

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A proposal for administering image rights is discussed at

  5. Annihilator

    Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat

    So, Mr Record Exec besmirches my good name and I get to pay £20 to prove him wrong? Perhaps so, but I would expect that this should fall under the definition of legal aid. Otherwise it gives Mr Record Exec the opportunity to blow me out of the water financially (what's to stop him from giving me 10,000 warnings?)

    Utterly, utterly mental. At least try and balance it slightly, say you pay £20 for a failed appeal, but equally have something to come back on Mr Record Exec - that a successful appeal results in him paying a £20K fine for a false accusation (or "libel" as a court may like to call it).

    1. Anonymous Coward

      " besmirches my good name" < Annihilator

      Your name is "Annihilator" - you've besmirched yourself.

      If you can't help yourself download pirate stuff instead of paying up, or borrowing or blagging a copy, then it's fair enough.

      Do the crime, pay the time matey. I would call it a stupidity tax.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The title is required

        "Do the crime, pay the time matey. I would call it a stupidity tax."

        Of course I forgot that the methods used to catch the freetards are 100% accurate. Cock.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Big Brother

          "I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over. "

          the thing is, if you own the original dvd/cd then it appears to have a digital copy is now allowed, so If I have an original DVD of 2001 A Space Odyssey then I can have a digital copy. Now the way it is at the moment, with my fast internet connection I can download a copy of said movie as an AVI in around 5 minutes. to Rip my legally owned DVD and to convert it, in a reasonable quality will take a lot longer and takes a lot more know how....

          So the question is, does this in a round about way make it legal for me to download something form a service like rapidshare (torrents upload so therefore distribute which would be in breech) for my digital copy of my legal owned DVD, Same with my CD collection?

          1. Miek

            I think ...

            .... That I depends on the distribution source. If you rip it FROM your DVD, no problem. If you download it from an unauthorised vendor, but own an original, the vendor will be liable for the unauthorised distribution of a Copyrighted work. Most cases AFAIK are where people have been making available (seeding) copyrighted works which are downloaded by the investigator.

            So essentially, you are unlikely to receive a letter from these parasites unless you

            a) Have been making available copyrighted works and an investigator has downloaded from you (in part or in whole)

            b) Have been unlucky enough to have been a false-positive in the investigators drag-net.

      2. Annihilator

        Ah... the ironies

        You mock me for having a pseudonym, and use the anonymous tag. You mention stupidity taxes, yet manage to double-post. You miss the whole point of the "appeal" where it's primary reason for being is in the cases where the accusation is false.

        Where do you get the impression I'm unable to help myself from downloading pirate stuff? Since when is borrowing or blagging a copy (assuming you mean it literally) a crime?

        Utter, utter fail, but thanks for playing.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          People who call themselves "Annihilator" online are usually called Derek, have a big comic collection and live with their Mum and Dad.

          1. Annihilator

            re: Annihilator!

            It's a hangover from my Quake days, but even then none of those things were true. It's one step up from AC though..

          2. Anonymous Coward

            Google 'Annihilator on

            And that person will be named Scott Brown and a true master of all things hardcore....

      3. Anonymous Coward


        As my title say you are a bit on the wrong side....

        So what about that law firm who was sending letters to innocent people accusing them of being pirates? with this new law then all those letters sent are ok and innocent people need to pay £20 per letter in order to appeal even if is a dodgy law firm?


        I would also mention a report of few days ago where on a recent German study found out that the major Itunes customers are the same people who used limewire to download music......

        Go figure....

        I don't condone piracy but I start suspecting this is more of a money making scheme on top of the business.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      " besmirches my good name" writes "Annihilator" !

      Your name is "Annihilator" - you've besmirched yourself.

      If you can't help yourself download pirate stuff instead of paying up, or borrowing or blagging a copy, then it's fair enough.

      Do the crime, pay the time matey. I would call it a stupidity tax.

    3. John G Imrie

      what's to stop him from giving me 10,000 warnings?

      I would say that after the 3rd was successfully appealed, you could ask for the rest to be dismissed with prejudice.

      If another comes through then I'd ask a judge to declare the company a vexatious litigant.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    Bring in Mandy, send him on a yacht with music industry/cocaine snorting lifestyle bosses, and hey presto you will have a very clear legislation!

    Why the confusion?

    Nothing belongs to you or them anyways! It will spawn a whole new industry of lawyers/petitioners and of course the victims of these mafia needing justice.

    You see, everyone wins.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Nothing belongs to you or them anyways!"

      I think you'll find it does.

  7. Rampant Spaniel

    As a photographer

    they can go take a flying .....

  8. eWill

    Ofcom's 57-page study on website-blocking

    Part of my job being to block websites I thought it would be worth a look. First paragraph in the paper "parts of this document have been redacted as they contain techniques for by passing web blocking controls... " .. guess which part of the paper I skipped to ...

    Copy and paste into notepad.... and , well I doubt that the redacted section would teach any Reg reader anything new. But I suppose its nice to see they are trying to be secure. Its just a crying shame these people are influential in any technology matter if they cannot even redact a PDF properly.


    1. Barrie Shepherd


      Thanks eWill - PDF redaction can sometime go wrong. As you say Reg readers will already know these solutions to nosey governments.

      I last saw this error on a State Government Contract in Australia. The public document had all pricing redacted but changing Adobe Preferences / Text custom colour soon showed the $s up (red text looks good on a black background)

      1. Miek


        I wonder if the PDFs are still searchable too ? ;)

    2. LAGMonkey

      I asked the google for its cache.

      Unfortunatly for ofcom their mistake at not being able to redact from a pdf has been captured by google cache.

      Of course you have to click the "view as HTML" link instead of the PDF link provided (at least OFCOM have removed the original pdf from the server).

      But yeah... nothing new and i could argue a little patronising too.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      I clicked on a redacted bit of text randomly and got the pop-up:

      The document is trying to connect to

      Then it asks if I trust the site.

      Thanks for the tip OFCOM.

      I was unable to copy the redacted parts though, I have "Ofcom_Site-Blocking-_report_with_redactions_vs2.pdf" so maybe they saw your post and swiftly put up a locked version 2?

  9. Peter 39

    charge for filing too

    There has to be a charge for Mr Record Exec to file complaints. He gets it back if the complaint is upheld.

    If you have to put up twenty quid to appeal, how come he gets to file for free??

  10. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    The power of a quango?

    "Ofcom's report effectively kicked web-blocking into the long grass – and showed the power of a quango to make and break laws. "

    Er, no it doesn't. It demonstrates that very occasionally ministers are willing to listen to the advice of people who they appointed, and then exercise the power of ministers to make or break laws, which itself only exists where parliament has seen fit to delegate it to them.

    But to have Ofcom raise a technically literate objection AND for the ministers to bother to listen is surely unprecedented, so I'm not surprised you were thrown off base.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Financial assault, 20 quid at a time.

    Just allege, allege, allege, and allege some more. Not appealing means being stuck with a contract but no service, so what choice do you have but to appeal? And that's before wondering what this does to "innocent until proven guilty". Just one more reason why reinventing a special-purpose police, badly, is, well, just not a very good idea.

  13. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Big Brother

    Be afraid....


    Am I the only one to be concerned when I see that the grubberment "announces plans to modernise intellectual property laws, aiding growth and adding billions to the UK economy".

    So I looked at

    which led me to

    In that I see that the aim of all this is "An efficient, respected, international intellectual property system that encourages innovation and creativity while enabling the economy and society to benefit from knowledge and ideas."

    or the short version "an efficient, international intellectual property system"

    buried in the document is this little innocuous nugget "Work to secure increased membership to existing trade mark registration systems, and a World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) treaty on designs,"

    The WIPO, aren’t they the people behind the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)????? Remember that?? Border searches to see if your iPod has any illegal music on it. ACTA is nothing more than an attempt by copyright mafiaa to establish an international organisation with its own governing body and it would exist outside existing international organisations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO)


    "Since ACTA is an international treaty, it is an example of policy laundering used to establish and implement legal changes. Policy laundering allows legal provisions to be pushed through via closed negotiations among private members of the executive bodies of the signatories. This method avoids use of public legislation and its judiciary oversight."

    Where in the Hargreaves report does it say that control of the UKs IP law be handed over to the Motion Picture Ass. of America and the Recording Industry Ass. of America

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Freetards see conspiracies everywhere

      You could try paying for stuff.

      1. John G Imrie

        Dear Anonymous Coward

        I do pay for stuff, I have a bookcase full of shop bought DVD's.

        I still agree with the OP though.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Nobody spot the "welcome back phorm"?

    "the costs of DPI are likely to decreae as ISP's impliment DPI for other purposes"?

    Call me paranoid but sounds Like an open invitation to the ISP to have an excuse for DPI!

    1. Annihilator
      Paris Hilton

      "DPI for other purposes"

      I interpreted the "other purposes" as "throttling"?

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