Monday, July 25, 2011

Virgin Media: Website blocking plan faces major issues


Virgin Enterprises Limited Virgin Media Richard Branson Internet

Website blocking could be a part of the solution to internet piracy, according to Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett, but he has also warned of the issues facing such a proposal.

Speaking at Intellect's consumer electronics conference in London, Berkett said that Virgin Media still has reservations over website blocking proposals.

He said, "I think site blocking is a possible part of the overall solution, but it's not the solution. How do we go about ensuring it's the right sites [being blocked]? What is the process we go through so we don't unnaturally block supply? There's a lot to consider over the legalities of it all."

Regime change

"You must have a regime that a) [sees] the right site is blocked and b) it is blocked by everybody; there can't be any Robin Hoods of the internet [ISPs] saying, 'No, I'm with the other side'," he continued.

"And I think that we still have a way to go to be able to create an environment where the two sides of the table see eye to eye.

"I think we [Virgin Media] are probably more progressive than our peers and competitors; we do see [the proposals] as important for ourselves, but it's a greater part of our vision as the facilitator for change in the digital world; and I think you'll start to see others follow that."

The comments come after Ed Vaizey, the UK's minister for culture, communications and creative industries, denied that secret meetings had taken place to rush a website blocking proposal through government.

Although the proposals remain real, he maintains that the copyrights holders put forward the plans and that consumer groups were invited to discuss them.

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