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OiNK and Mandelson Prove Inadequacies of UK Internet Copyright Law


In a month that has seen the UK’s Business Secretary Peter Mandelson back down over a clause in his Digital Economy Bill following a barrage of complaints from high-profile internet industry figures like Google, Facebook, Yahoo and eBay and Alan Ellis, the man behind file-sharing website OiNK, cleared of conspiracy to defraud, never have the inadequacies of UK internet copyright law been more obvious.

“It was suggested that the contentious clause in the Digital Economy Bill would give the government too much power over online content,” explains Andrew Kormornick of internet business law experts Business Lawyers Direct.

“If this bill had been introduced in its previous form, the government could have used its new powers to, amongst other things, step up monitoring of user data, even where nothing illegal had taken place.”

In the case of OiNK founder Alan Ellis, despite the fact that his site had facilitated the download of over 21 million music files, he was found ’not guilty’ of conspiracy to defraud as he did not host the illegally obtained files himself.

“Both these cases prove how confused internet copyright law is in the UK,” continues Andrew Kormornick. “The message being sent out is unclear - on the one hand the government is attempting to introduce what some would call ’Draconian’ measures to curb illegal downloading, on the other a man who has facilitated the illegal downloading of over 21 million tracks is cleared by the courts.”

“At Business Lawyers Direct we’re concerned about what this means for Internet businesses which rely on providing content of all forms - photographs, music, films, text. It is possible that the Digital Economy Bill will make their lives even more difficult than they already are, however it’s clear that legislation is needed.”

With over thirty years’ experience, Business Lawyers Direct is one of the foremost providers of legal advice to UK businesses. Their team of solicitors regularly advise both offline and online businesses. For more information, visit their website at:


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