Digital Economy Bill, Liberals and Pirates


As you may remember, there once was a lunch in Corfu between Lord Mandelson and David Geffen, one Hollywood mogul and record company exec.

After that meeting, Mandy came out with his new copyright bill, the Digital Economy Bill, which among other things, gives the government the right to force your ISP to spy on you and cut you off if you’re accused (without trial mind) of unlicensed sharing copyright infringement, and not-incidentally also gives the Secretary of State, that is him, Mandy, the power to create new penalties for online infringements whenever he wanted without interference from the Commons, the Lords or even the Queen.

That bill is currently being read in the Lords (if you haven’t written to your MP then you likely should have. I did, and I got a reply).

Some Liberal Democrat Lords have proposed an amendment which frankly just makes things worse.

I mean I dunno what they’re thinking. Someone’s convinced ’em that it’s a good idea to allow courts to order all of Britain’s ISPs to shut off access to specific sites if these sites were found to be involved with copyright infringement. Which would be all of the ‘web storage’ and ‘backup’ places on the entire net, basically.

I fired off a tweet to my local Liberal Democrat representative asking what the hell was going on? I mean, this ain’t a freedom-loving amendment.

Rather than taking two months to reply, she responded initially within hours and then she blogged about what a bad idea it was and coordinated an open letter asking her colleagues to reconsider. Keeping me in the loop through twitter the whole time.

Which is pretty good I reckon. Hurray for Bridget Fox. Hope she gets to be my MP some day.

The amendment will hopefully be dropped, and the whole bill will hopefully fail to be pushed through before the election but it really seems to be the aim of the top Labour folks to get it through before they have to stand down and the Tories are offering their usual token resistance while clearly secretly thinking “Woah! I can’t believe our luck! That’s exactly what I’d do.” so I dunno how much hope there is that it’ll fail.

Incidentally, this is the same bill which will allow professional organisations to use your images freely, just so long as they fail in their “adequate search” to find out who they should pay while also ensuring they can shut off your ISP access if you repost one of theirs.

Fucks sake! This will all be law in six weeks or so.

Even if it does fail, the Tories will no doubt make something similar should they get in and there’s literal secret conspiracies at top international political levels to try and do much the same.

This stuff is about the very thing which makes us human: our culture. Learning from and copying each other, about the free flow of ideas, about corporations being determined to steal our culture from us and force us to pay to get it back. It’s about political corruption and bribery. Yet people barely seem to care. it sounds like the Pirate Party will barely have enough cash to run a handful of candidates at the elections, the only upside of which I can see is at least it won’t leave me torn between voting for Bridget or some local Pirate.


And some folks think it’s about “Stealing” music.

2 thoughts on “Digital Economy Bill, Liberals and Pirates

  1. What?! That is so ridiculous! I hope this bill does not pass. It sounds very orwellian to say the least.

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