9 April 2019

The British Copyright Council, whose members represent hundreds of thousands of authors, creators, performers, publishers, producers and collecting societies, has long stated its firm support for the objectives of the Digital Charter, of which the Online Harms White Paper is a key part. However, it is essential that any new legislation to clean up the online space should protect against the full range of harms, both social and economic. The White Paper makes important progress in keeping people safe online but it must go wider in preventing illegal economic activities that hurt individual consumers as well as businesses.

The creative industries now contribute over £1 billion to the UK economy, growing at nearly twice the rate of the economy in general and playing a vital role in powering the digital sector. But that contribution is continually threatened by content piracy and criminal profiteering. We are therefore disappointed that IP infringement is excluded from the paper.

In an environment where there is often no clear line to be drawn between different types of harm, attempts to tackle them separately will not work and would be a missed opportunity in setting truly effective new online standards. We will consider the White Paper in detail and work with our members to advocate for a comprehensive legal framework that allows the regulator to pursue appropriate action across all harms for the common good.