Labour sticks to its support for the Digital Economy Act

Cory Doctorow writes,

Harriet Harman, deputy leader the UK Labour Party, has explained her party’s programme for the British Internet: “implement the Digital Economy Act under a clear timetable including getting on with the notification letters.” “Notification letters?” Why yes, those would be the letters notifying you that you have been accused, without proof, of downloading copyrighted material without permission, and that everyone in your household is now at risk of being disconnected from the Internet, without a trial. If that costs you your job, if that costs your children their education, if that makes it harder to engage with politics, civics, and your community, well, tough.

You can read his post in full here and for more of the background on a topic we’ve covered heavily in the past see this post from Julian Huppert.

* Mark Pack is Party President and Co-leader of the party. He is editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

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  • Foregone Conclusion 26th Feb '12 - 3:20pm

    Alternatively, ‘Conservative Party sticks to its support for the Digital Economy Act.’ Let’s not forget that.

  • David Claughton 26th Feb '12 - 8:59pm

    Techdirt [1] does a good job of pointing out the extent to which Ms Harman is relying on debunked, exaggerated and baseless statistics to justify her push to fully implement this utterly shameful bit of regulation – described by some as “proposed by the unelected, debated by the ignorant and voted on by the absent”


  • @Foregone Conclusion: yes, that as well. Lib Dems are the only major party opposing it. If we were in government on our own, we would repeal the web-blocking and disconnection clauses.

  • Stuart Mitchell 27th Feb '12 - 8:58pm

    “If that costs you your job, if that costs your children their education, if that makes it harder to engage with politics, civics, and your community, well, tough.”

    It would indeed be tough, though I can’t see it ever happening. Even if it ever did, don’t Liberals believe in the idea of people taking responsibility for their own actions, instead of bleating about the consequences?

  • @Stuart: We also, rather more importantly, believe in due process and proportionality of any penalty. Even if you think that loss of one’s home broadband connection is a proportionate penalty for unauthorised downloading of copyright material (I do not), it should only happen after a court of law has had the opportunity to examine all of the evidence and determine that such has happened in the specific case. It should not happen on the say-so of a copyright holder, after X warning letters or via a tribunal that operates outside the normal legal process and where people have to pay to get a hearing. Liberals also look askance at the concept of collective punishment, for example an entire household being disconnected from the Internet because one person has unlawfully downloaded a song.

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