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Anti-caching lobby wins round one of Euro vote

Former pop-star at centre of row which could bring Web to its knees

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Lobbyists within the European Parliament are warning that the Internet could grind to a halt after they failed to get the Draft Report on Copyright in the Information Society amended in Strasbourg this afternoon. Seventies singing sensation turned MEP, Nana Mouskouri, was one of the people who helped spearhead the campaign in favour of copyright protection on the Internet. News of the two-thirds majority against the amendments -- which would have excluded caching from the report -- has come as a bitter disappointment to the European Internet Service Providers Association (EuroISPA) which campaigned vigorously in favour of the changes. If the draft report remains unchanged as it charts its passage through the European parliamentary process, the creation of temporary files -- or caching -- will be outlawed (see earlier story) and lead to a marked slowdown Net performance, EuroISPA warned. "If you outlaw the proxying of files then the Net will slow down," said a spokesman for EuroISPA. "Of course we recognise the value of potential copyright holders but we don't see how restricting caching will be of any benefit to them," he said. A spokesman at the Department of Trade and Industry tried to minimise the impact of today's news saying that the draft report still had to be presented to EU member states. While he couldn't make any promises, he said the UK government was likely to argue for a change. Lobbying on both sides of the argument has been intense all week, The Register has discovered. A leaflet from an anonymous source circulated last night warned that Net piracy could be caused by temporary files and urged MEPs not to vote for amendments which might create a legal loophole. The leaflet was believed to have influenced MEP’s voting decisions. ®

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