By Emmanuel Legrand
The British Government has published an initial consultation response to the Online Harms White Paper, which the music industry sector sees as a way to increase oversight of online platforms and to better regulate illegal content.
The government's ambition is "to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online and the best place to start and grow a digital business," according to Baroness Morgan, then Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (she has been replaced by Oliver Dowden in the recent reshuffling of the Boris Johnson cabinet) and Priti Patel, Secretary of State, Home Office.
In the foreword to the consultation's response, they wrote: "We are a pro-technology government and we are keen to continue to work with industry to drive forward the digital agenda. We are continuing to work at pace to ensure the right regulatory regime and legislation is in place."
Go further to protect creators
The White Paper tackles various issues from freedom of expression and protection of children and makes a series of recommendations about content removal and tackling online abuses.
Music industry organisation theBritish Phonographic Industry welcomed the government's commitment to make the UK the safest place online, but also called on policy-makers "to go further and protect creators from other forms of harm, including fraud and IP theft."
Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI and BRIT Trust said: "The BPI welcomes the global lead the UK Government is taking to make big tech platforms more accountable for the content they host and the online harms they enable. As these proposals are taken forward, we would encourage Government to consider extending them to encompass other forms of harm, including fraud and IP theft, which have a serious negative impact on the public and on creators."
Fight the threat of piracy
Tom Kiehl, acting CEO of cross-industry lobbying group UK Music, said his organisation supports the efforts to protect people from online harm, but also calls the British government to "deal with harms that damage our economy and people’s jobs." He added: "The scope of any legislation needs to be widened to ensure big tech takes greater responsibility for the activities and actions it supports online to protect our culture and creativity."
For Kiehl, "the continued threat of piracy and failing to properly value copyright protected works online risks damaging the investment, innovation and future talent on which our world-leading music industry depends."