NSFW: Hey, America! Our draconian copyright law could kick your draconian copyright law’s ass

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I’ve always had mixed feelings about the DMCA.

On the one hand, as an author, I like that it gives me a way to stop illegal copies of my work being distributed in the US, so ensuring that I can continue to make a living without having to get a proper job. On the other hand, as an occasional journalist, I hate that it can also be used by trigger-happy lawyers to prevent certain embarrassing documents entering the public domain.

Thus conflicted, it was with some trepidation that I received news from the old country that Gordon Brown’s government is getting ready to enact its very own version of the DMCA. Called the Digital Economy Bill (DEB), the new statute aims – amongst other things – to halt the rising tide of intellectual property theft on the Internet. But unlike the DMCA, its reach won’t be limited to national borders: any site anywhere in the world that’s accessible from the UK needs to obey the law or else it’s liable to find itself blocked from the entire country. I’m not kidding, this is China-level enforcement.

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