Copyright exemption for search engines proposed

Bitterwallet - Lord Lucas proposes new bill for search engine copyright exemption Our digital future is in one fat mess, as the masters of social media look to rob us of our privacy, our government dreams up new ways to punish unlawful downloading and the traditional dead tree media crumbles to dust. Now adding to the fracas is the House of Lords, in a move which would see search engines exempt from any liability for copyright infringement in the UK.

According to Paid Content, Conservative Lord Lucas is proposing an amendment to the already controversial Digital Economy Bill - a clause for the "protection of search engines from liability for copyright infringement" which goes something like this:

“Every provider of a publicly accessible website shall be presumed to give a standing and non-exclusive license to providers of search engine services to make a copy of some or all of the content of that website, for the purpose only of providing said search engine services.A provider of search engine services who acts in accordance with this section shall not be liable for any breach of copyright.”

Publishers of online content could still block the advances of search engines by adding a machine-readable file denying a licence to copy and republish the content, but it would mean everything on the internet is fair game for Google with no comeback for websites, unless individual publishers act to restrict their content. The requirement to proactively enforce copyright would also mean revising the current laws on the subject.

It may never happen since the bill has several stages of approval to pass through, and it's just one of nearly 300 proposed amendments which are being heard in the Lords next week. Chances are they'll be asleep after the first dozen.

[Paid Content] via Bitterwallet reader Graham


  • Bogbrush
    See: Isn't it just that to stop your content being indexed?
  • PaulH
    @BogBrush Yeah thats what I thought
  • Mark P.
    What's a 'chanace'?
  • Simples
    It should be optin, not optout. if you want to give your copyright away then say so in the robots.txt
  • Nobby
    So on one hand they want to cut people off from the internet for downloading copyright material for free, but on the other allow google to access everything. I can see a time when online / downloadable digital films will be searchable. What will happen then?
  • Mark P.
  • Philip
    Regardless of the argument, is that really Lord Lucas? Looks more like Lord Lucan to me
  • Simples
    I thought that was the whole point. Never fear BW, some of us got it...
  • Junkyard
    Er, isn't this one of those rare things, what are they called...? That's it, "good things". It's all a terribly grey area that depends on how you define "search engine services", and we wouldn't want to go too far in giving power to giant corporations like Google. But on balance, I'd rather have this kind of law than the "let's tax Google all to buggery cos they're so much better than we are" laws currently being talked about in France.

What do you think?

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