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Press releases

Press releases

August 02, 2011 | Peter Bradwell

Open Rights Group welcomes Government response to Hargreaves Review

Tuesday 2nd August 2011.

In response to the Government's expected announcement tomorrow morning that it is supporting the findings of Professor Hargreaves' report 'Digital Opportunity: A Review of Intellectual Property and Growth', Peter Bradwell, campaigner at Open Rights Group said:

"Exceptions like the right to parody, which many other countries already have, will bring huge rewards for creators and consumers. A right to parody will lead to a blossoming of legitimate spoofs and satires by the public, comedians and campaigners alike. The Government should be loudly applauded for wanting to modernise the UK's copyright laws."


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July 28, 2011 | Jim Killock

Newzbin block: pointless and dangerous

Reacting to the decision of the courts to instruct BT to block Newzbin, Peter Bradwell, Copyright Campaigner at the Open Rights Group said:

"Website blocking is pointless and dangerous. These judgements won't work to stop infringement or boost creative industries. And there are serious risks of legitimate content being blocked and service slowdown. If the goal is boosting creators' ability to make money from their work then we need to abandon these technologically naive measures, focus on genuine market reforms, and satisfy unmet consumer demand."

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April 20, 2011 | Jim Killock

Judicial Review : Digital Economy Act decision

Reacting to the Judicial Review decision, Peter Bradwell, Campaigner at Open Rights Group, said:

"It is important to remember that this is not a judgement on whether the Digital Economy Act is good public policy. We still believe that if enacted the Act will hurt people's privacy and access to the Internet for no proven gain. We hope that BT and TalkTalk will appeal and we will support them if they do."

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January 04, 2011 | Jim Killock

BT could be endangering the Open Internet

Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

"We are talking about ISPs competing with the Internet for content delivery. Whether films, music or gaming services, the idea is that ISPs will deliver content better and more reliably than the Internet. That says a lot about the state of investment in our Internet.

"The result could be a fundamental shift away from buying services from the Internet to bundled services from ISPs: which would reduce competition and take investment away from Internet companies. That would be bad for everyone."

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December 16, 2010 | Jim Killock

BPI members profits up: calls for clampdowns are immoral

Reacting to the BPI's latest push for Internet users to be surveilled and cut off from the Internet, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

“The BPI are whinging that massive growth in their members’ profits in the middle of a recession isn't good enough.

“Instead of placing their fullest efforts into building their business in an open market, they argue for measures that would curtail innocent people's human rights in order to increase their profits. That is immorral.”

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November 10, 2010 | Jim Killock

ORG welcomes Judicial Review of Digital Economy Act

Jim Killock, executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

"We are extremely glad that judges will be taking a look at the Digital Economy Act, which we believe breaches people’s rights to freedom of expression and privacy. The Act is a mess and badly needs repealing. Judicial Review may give the government the chance to drop this heavy-handed approach to copyright enforcement."

ORG's campaign resulted in nearly 40,000 emails being sent to MPs and candidates demanding proper debate and repeal of the Act.

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November 10, 2010 | Jim Killock

Home Office botch privacy consultation following Phorm case

Responding to the announcement that the Home Office are reviewing interception laws following EU action, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

“BT and Phorm breached thousands of people’s privacy by opening their web traffic without consent. Now the Home Office have been forced by Viviane Reding and the EU to review our interception laws.

“Holding a consultation on key privacy protections for barely four weeks, and failing to publicise it, is a disgrace. This is the latest in a long line of Home Office botches.”

For more information, see:

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November 04, 2010 | Florian Leppla

ORG welcomes Government's IP Review

Commenting on the Government's announcement to review Intellectual Property laws Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Right Group, said:

"The Digital Economy Act left a massive hole of missing user rights like personal copying and parody.

"It's great to have the opportunity to make the case for modern copyright that works for citizens, artists and innovation."




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October 21, 2010 | Florian Leppla

MEPs raise concerns about fundamental rights in ACTA and the Commissioner makes a mockery of them

MEPs' concerns, driven by emails from ORG activists, about the lack of fundamental rights in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) were dismissed by EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht in a debate in the European Parliament last night.

De Gucht said MEPs referred to “a kind of nebulous liberties that you think are under attack” and claimed that MEPs do not provide the Commission with any examples as to where in the ACTA text they see possible threats to fundamental rights.

The Commissioner, however, ignored serious concerns from MEPs.

Marietje Schaake from the liberal ALDE group said that Article 2.18.3 of ACTA implies extra judicial measures and challenges division of power. The article in the enforcement section encourages signatories to promote cooperation within businesses to address trademark and copyright infringement.1

Furthermore, Ms Schaake said that ISPs were worried that they have to enforce the law because the provision that authority can order ISPs to disclose subscriber's information to the copyright holder (Art 2.18.4).2

Christian Engström MEP asked for an impact assessment that would look at fundamental rights in ACTA. He was also not convinced that a three strikes regime is, as the Commission claims, ruled out by ACTA.

Florian Leppla, Campaigner at the Open Rights Group said:

“The Commission makes a mockery of the serious concerns MEPs have raised.

“MEPs have clearly pointed out what their concerns are and quoted the relating ACTA text. How can the Commissioner say that MEPs don't provide examples?

“MEPs have also repeatedly criticised the secrecy of the ACTA negotiations and demanded more transparency.

“The Commissioner has not acknowledged that and believes that releasing two draft texts is sufficient.

"ACTA will commit governments to act against personal copyright infringement. It will be used as a weapon to push for new erosions of fundamental rights and it is very important that MEPs raise these matters with the Commission.”



(From the Consolidated Acta Text, published 2 October 2010)

1 - Section 5: Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in the Digital Environment



Each Party shall endeavor to promote cooperative efforts within the business community to effectively address [at least trademark and] copyright or related rights infringement while preserving legitimate competition and consistent with each Party’s law, preserving fundamental principles such as freedom of expression, fair process, and privacy.

2 - Section 5: Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in the Digital Environment


Each Party may provide, in accordance with its laws and regulations, its competent authorities with the authority to order an online service provider to disclose expeditiously to a right holder information sufficient to identify a subscriber whose account was allegedly used for infringement, where that right holder has filed a legally sufficient claim of infringement of [at least trademark and] copyrights or related rights and where such information is being sought for the purpose of protecting or enforcing [at least the right holder's trademark and] copyright or related rights. These procedures shall be implemented in a manner that avoids the creation of barriers to legitimate activity, including electronic commerce, and, consistent with each Party’s law, preserves fundamental principles such as freedom of expression, fair process, and privacy.


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October 20, 2010 | Florian Leppla

First ACTA debate tonight in European Parliament

Tonight (Wednesday), after two and a half years, MEPs will debate the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) for the first time. The debate is scheduled for the last session, between 9pm and midnight.

MEPs have in the past taken a strong line against ACTA. Kader Arif MEP has reiterated that the Parliament's opinion must be taken into account, even if that means that ACTA has to be re-negotiated.1

Carl Schlyter, an MEP from the Greens/EFA, has sought an expert opinion on ACTA from the Article 29 Data Protection Working Group, an independent EU advisory body.2 He challenges whether ACTA is even compliant with the Maastricht Treaty.

ACTA has also received considerable opposition outside of the EU. A US Senator has requested a legal review of ACTA 3 and the Mexican Senate voted to withdraw the country entirely from ACTA negotiations 4.

The misleading titled ACTA goes beyond addressing counterfeiting, but aims to establish global standards for regulation of the Internet and enforce online copyright infringement.

Moreover, like with many treaties in the past, the US and EU will “encourage” other countries to agree to ACTA provisions in return, for example, for access to US or EU domestic markets. Arguably this coerces developing countries into implementing legislation that is wholly inappropriate for them and in which they had little, if any, say.









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