Clegg commits to Digital Economy Act repeals

Doing the rounds of online news today has been Nick Clegg’s opposition to the Digital Economy Act:

Lib Dems will call for repeal of Digital Economy Act
Nick Clegg outlines fears over controversial new laws

The phrase “repeal the Digital Economy Act/Bill” has become a bit of a shorthand, often being used to mean “repeal the controversial bits” – either as a piece of verbal shorthand or because so much attention has focused on those parts that people using the phrase aren’t aware there is rather more to the Act. So I’ve double-checked Nick’s full views and they do draw the sensible distinction:

It was a disgrace that so little time was given to scrutinise the Digital Economy Bill and so we voted against the Bill at third reading. While most of the bill is welcome, we’ve always said that the parts of this law dealing with web blocking simply weren’t good enough.

The only way to improve bad law is to take it off the statue book and replace it with something better. We managed to get measures like account suspension delayed for a year, so there is still time to repeal technical measures that won’t work and put in place laws to tackle these issues in a fair and appropriate way. We have continuing concerns with respect to the measures on account suspension in particular.

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9 Comments

  • Illegal filsharing is destroying the creatives in our society. It’s like walking into someone’s house ans stealing their CD colection and there being no law in place to stop it.

    Nick has got this one wrong and so have organisations such as the Open Rights Group.

    Are you saying a senior front bench LibDem lawyer Lord Clement-Jones was wrong?

    Get rid of Bittorrent sites sich as Bitcomet, Megaupload, Limmewire, etc and use digital watermarks simlar to the encrypion on SkyTV cards and stop 99% of the problem in its tracks. The public has caused this issue and don’t just pander to them at election time Mark!

  • Stephen Wellington 17th Apr '10 - 6:10pm

    Peter,
    I think for the vast majority of people here, opposition to that bill does entail support or endorsement of piracy. I am very against piracy myself, but we need effective solutions that are fair and do not effect innocent people. That bill was simply the wrong way of going about solving the problem, and *will* effect innocent people:

    A record of a particular IP address illegally downloading content is not proof that someone in that household downloaded the content.. security on wireless networks is not perfect; you could probably park your car in any street in the country and find a wireless network that you could hack into.
    Also, does a coffee shop, or a library, or so on deserve to be cut off from the Internet because of their customers’ actions?

    You can’t ‘get rid of Bittorrent sites’… if you manage to close one down another will soon reappear and the problem carries on. Blocking websites as put forward by Lord Clement-Jones (yes he was wrong) will simply not work. ISPs can attempt to block what they like, but people will find a way around the block. Look up “proxy servers” or “Tor” on Wikipedia [Here].

    Finally, digital watermarking and encryption… It would be great to think we could watermark a track so that if I bought a song legally online, it could be traced back to me if that copy appeared on file sharing networks.. Unfortunately it simply doesn’t work.. If I can play a track there is nothing that stops me stripping that watermark by (for example) re-encoding the song into a different format, or burning it to a CD and ripping it again. If you try something more restrictive like DRM/encryption schemes all you get is a system where innocent users are punished (iTunes songs only playable on an iPod, CDs that don’t work in some computers, CDs that allow your computer to be infected with a virus (e.g. the Sony scandal) , etc…) but ultimately doesn’t work anyway. There is not a DRM scheme out there that has not been partially or fully cracked.

    The music industry needs to recognise that if it sold better products (in terms of the artists, and the sound quality of the download itself – usually worse than a CD) and a fair price (charging the same price for an album in MP3 format as they used to for a proper physical record with all the cover art etc… is not fair) they might have a better chance of helping to cut down piracy than lobbying the government into introducing these silly ineffective laws that will only harm the innnocent.

    If you think I’m wrong, by all means feel to argue why the bill would work… I won’t be going anywhere..

  • Stephen & Dave

    As usual with people like you; there is never a solution, only problems. It is stealing fair and square, nothing else. The entertainment industry has made a mess of it for 20 years and something needs done now. if we left it to people like you two, more and more lives would be ruined as artists lose money, careers are dessimated, as little geeks at home think they can steal.

    The ISP’s are to blame and the law will be changed to block illegal content. Whatever cretins like you guys put up as an argument, such as the rediculous Human Rights legislation that seems to protect everyone else apart from those that need it.

  • Stephen Wellington 18th Apr '10 - 12:39am

    So you’ve completely ignored what I said, and resorted to insults…

    I haven’t tried to justify or support piracy, just explain why I believe the Bill won’t help. You say “As usual with people like you; there is never a solution, only problems”, but you haven’t answered any of the points I made about the Bill…

    Go on… If you think you’re right, go through each point I made about the Bill and explain why I was wrong.

  • Stephen, the arguments were made in the House of Lords by the Libdems. Stop being a populist chump and get real, and stop disagreeing with people that really know what they are talking about.

    Protect our creative society as it’s one thing the British are still good at!!!

    Or though won’t be if people like you got their way, which won’t happen

  • Stephen Wellington 18th Apr '10 - 1:38pm

    *facepalm*

    You’re still not answering the question.. you say we need to protect our creative society, AND I AGREE WITH YOU!
    I just want to debate the issues.. I’ve explained why I don’t believe the Bill is the right thing to do. You clearly disagree with me, so explain why I’m wrong… You say you “really know what you’re talking about”, so enlighten me…

    Let’s start with one point… If your next door neighbour uses your WiFi to download illegal content, would you feel it was fair to cut your Internet off?

    Yours Sincerely,
    “Populist Chump”

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