Search engines to be exempt from copyright laws?

Houses of Parliament

A Conservative peer has proposed that search engines should be exempt from copyright infringement laws brought in with the new Digital Economy Bill.

A document posted on the official parliament website has shown a list of 299 proposed amendments to the bill including one from Lord Lucas stating:

"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."

He concludes that if this is adhered to there should be no copyright infringement claims made against search engine providers.

This proposal comes at a time when media mogul Rupert Murdoch is trying to stop Google from showing its news content for free. However were this to become part of the law, Google would be immune to the requests in the UK and News Corp would be in trouble for blocking any content.

This is not the first aspect of the bill to have caused controversy since its inception.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has been in the spotlight since he proposed contentious initiatives to cut off illegal file sharers from the internet.

Following the second reading of the bill in the House of Lords last month, both politicians and big players in the industry raised concerns over clause 17 which would allow the Government to speedily change copyright law through statutory instrument rather than the full legal process.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.