Tag Archives: digital economy bill

Digital Economy Bill: Parliamentarians reply to prospective candidates

Yesterday we covered an open letter from 25+ Liberal Democrat prospective Parliamentary candidates (and see also this comment from ex-MP Richard Allan), expressing concerns over the line the party had taken in the House of Lords on a key part of the Digital Economy Bill. The party’s DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) team has now replied in turn with another public letter.

Two things to note when reading it. First, this sort of public exchange of letters is unusual, but very welcome. Although journalists sometimes struggle with the concept of a party that debates policy openly

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25 Lib Dem PPCs sign letter asking Lib Dem Parliamentarians to think again on Digital Economy Bill

The Digital Economy Bill has become one of the most heavily debated topics on this site. Posts related to it often generate a large number of comments, but today’s have done far more than that.

A bit of background first for anyone new to the story or catching up on it. The Digital Economy Bill has generated a lot of controversy for its proposals to do with copyright and illegal filesharing, with Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group urging the party to oppose it in a guest post. Some of those issues I took up in an interview with …

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Web blocking and the Lords

The amendment to do with web blocking and copyright from Tim Clement-Jones and Tim Razzall in the House of Lords has generated much discussion online. Yesterday we ran a piece from Lord Clement-Jones explaining his reasoning:

There are websites which consistently infringe copyright, many of them based outside the UK in countries such as Russia and beyond the jurisdiction of the UK courts. Many of these websites refuse to stop supplying access to illegal content.

It is a result of this situation that the Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment in the Lords which has the support of the Conservatives that enables

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Lord Clement-Jones on the Digital Economy Bill: web blocking amendment

The Digital Economy Bill, currently at the report stage in the Lords has caused concern, as Lib Dem peers Lord Razzall and Lord Clement-Jones are seeking an amendment to allow site blocking for copyright infringement.

Earlier this week, Open Rights Group posted an appeal for people to write to the peers, asking them to drop the amendment.

Here, Lord Tim Clement-Jones sets out his response:

The Digital Economy Bill, as currently drafted, only deals with a certain type of copyright infringement, namely peer-to-peer file sharing. Around 35% of all online copyright infringement takes place on non peer-to-peer sites and services. Particular threats concern “cyberlockers” which are hosted abroad.

There are websites which consistently infringe copyright, many of them based outside the UK in countries such as Russia and beyond the jurisdiction of the UK courts. Many of these websites refuse to stop supplying access to illegal content.

It is a result of this situation that the Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment in the Lords which has the support of the Conservatives that enables the High Court to grant an injunction requiring Internet Service Providers to block access to sites.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 249 Comments

The Independent View: Liberal Democrats should oppose the Digital Economy Bill

Last week we reported that, following the concessions forced on the government, Don Foster MP is broadly happy with the Digital Economy Bill’s proposals on illicit downloads. Jim Killock of the The Open Rights Group has a different take on the situation:

The Digital Economy Bill should be opposed by Liberal Democrats. Mandelson’s Bill seeks to reduce illicit downloads by punishing innocent people, removing any chance of a reasonable defence, and by disconnecting people.

Let’s start with this first idea, of disconnecting ‘infringers’.

Let’s say you pay BT, for broadband and somebody else downloads a number of copyright music tracks. You, your family, and …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 25 Comments

Digital Economy Bill may breach human rights laws

The BBC reported over the weekend:

An influential group of MPs and peers has said the government’s approach to illegal file-sharing could breach the rights of internet users.

The Joint Select Committee on Human Rights said the government’s Digital Economy Bill needed clarification.

It said that technical measures – which include cutting off persistent pirates – were not “sufficiently specified”.

In addition, it said that it was concerned that the Bill could create “over-broad powers”.

You can read the full story here.

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Don Foster on the Digital Economy Bill: carrot, pause and then stick

Yesterday Don Foster (Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary) kindly gave over some time to talk about his views on the Digital Economy Bill and the line the party is taking. It’s a topic we’ve often covered on The Voice, particularly the question of the balance between carrot and stick in responding to internet piracy. Should the response be making it easier for people to buy legal content and a move to new business models (the carrot) or should it be a crackdown based on the existing copyright rules (the stick)?

Don’s answer was that the carrot should be tried …

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Piracy letter campaign ‘nets innocents’

So reports the BBC:

More than 150 people have approached consumer publication Which? Computing claiming to have been wrongly targeted in crackdowns on illegal file-sharing.

ACS:Law has sent thousands of letters to people claiming they have illegally downloaded material and offers them a chance to settle by paying around £500.

Which? says it has been approached by some – including a 78 year-old accused of downloading pornography – who have no knowledge of the alleged offence.

You can read the full story here.

The wider significance of the story is that the Government’s line on the Digital Economy Bill is that in future more …

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Modest good news as Government makes modest backdown

From the BBC:

Ministers offer concessions on copyright changes

Ministers have given a concession over what critics claimed were “draconian” powers which would enable them to crack down on online copyright infringement.

A clause in the Digital Economy Bill would have allowed ministers to amend existing laws on online piracy without the need for further legislation.

Google and Facebook were among firms to complain about the measure, saying it would hamper digital innovation…

Section 17 of the bill, which has attracted the most anger, would give ministers “reserve powers” to draft fresh laws to tackle net-based copyright infringement without needing parliamentary approval.

Ministers argued that

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Lib Dems move to clip Mandelson’s power over copyright

The Digital Economy Bill currently going through Parliament would give Peter Mandelson huge powers to rewrite the country’s copyright laws in future – and all without much in the way of Parliamentary scrutiny or checks and balances.

But Liberal Democrat peer Tim Clement-Jones has tabled an amendment to the Digital Economy Bill to delete the controversial Clause 17.

He’s said:

This clause would give the Government carte-blanche to change all copyright law relating to the internet as and when they please.

Such powers are unnecessary and over-reaching and we have tabled an amendment to delete Clause 17.

Good news.

Whilst the Parliamentary Party’s approach seems to the …

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