Online lobbying effort increases against digital economy bill

Online lobbying efforts have increased over government plans to rush through a controversial bill, which could see UK file-sharers disconnected from the Internet and the government given the power to block websites containing copyrighted material, reports the Guardian.

The controversial bill contains legislation that would give copyright owners the right to demand the details of copyright infringers from their ISPs, with the possibility of this leading to disconnection from the Internet if they are accused multiple times. The bill also gives the government the power to block access to sites that allow "substantial infringement".

However, despite the opposition of giants such as Google, Yahoo, eBay and even the British Library it appears that the bill will be going to "wash-up" - basically a stage prior to a general election where any un-passed laws are quickly rushed through without debate.

The controversial and wide-ranging contents of the bill, as well as the government's desire to rush the bill through has lead to online lobbying efforts in an attempt to persuade the government to delay it until after the election. 38Degrees, a partner of the Guardian, are amongst those leading the campaign. Teaming up with the Open Rights Group, who campaign for the online rights of citizens, the site offers people a way to find and email their local MP.

"Online government is a great idea," said Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, "but Labour cannot say that people will depend on online government, and simultaneously plan to disconnect families after allegations of minor copyright offences. Labour must drop clauses 11-18 of the digital economy bill, which would allow thousands of families to be cut off the internet."

Over 11,000 people have sent emails via the 38Degrees site so far, according to a brief report from the Guardian this morning.

Those wishing to email their local MP can do so here: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/extremeinternetl

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