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:

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Something feels strange about this Bill, Is anybody other than the Record Companies and there employees actually in favour of this Bill, can't help thinking this Bill is so unpopular that the only reason the Government would be pushing it so hard is is if there was substation-al monetary incentive, Perhaps MPs hoping to offset the loss of income due to changes in their claimable Expenses?

Please rest assured that my colleagues in the Shadow Culture, Media and Sport and Shadow Business, Innovation and Skills teams will do everything in their power to work towards legislation that strengthens our digital sector and provides the security that our businesses and consumers so desperately need.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact me.

Best wishes,

Well that was quick reply... within an hour....
Any thoughts anyone?

u2_storm said,
Well that was quick reply... within an hour....
Any thoughts anyone?

Well its certainly more in-depth than the reply I had from my MP above :-D
They have to do something I guess, but being seen to do something and going way overboard infringing on basic human rights is something completely different. Conservatives have declared their behind the bill so no opposition there.

new ones to develop. That is why we were opposed to the original clause 17 and are still opposed to clause 29 which props up ITV regional news with BBC Licence Fee payers money.

The Government's failure to introduce the Bill until the eleventh hour of this Parliament has given rise to considerable concern that we no longer have the time to scrutinise the many controversial and detailed measures outlined in their proposals. We fully appreciate these concerns. However in certain areas, including measures to allow website blocking in certain carefully proscribed circumstances, there has been substantial debate in the House of Lords. I also believe they should be debated in the House of Commons before we agree to them. Only if we are confident that they have been given the scrutiny that they deserve will we support them

It is also worth pointing out that many of the fears about the Bill's proposals are not entirely accurate. People won't be disconnected from the internet without due process. And it will only be a small minority of people who consistently infringe copyright who are disconnected, not the average person who happens to have done so once or twice. Even then, they may be able to reconnect using another ISP immediately and without penalty.

I just had a reply:
Dear X,
Thank you for contacting me about the Digital Economy Bill.
For nearly twelve years, the Government has neglected this crucial area of our economy. We believe a huge amount needs to be done to give the UK a modern regulatory environment for the digital and creative industries. Whilst we welcome aspects of the bill there are other areas of great concern to us.
We want to make sure that Britain has the most favourable intellectual framework in the world for innovators, digital content creators and high tech businesses. We recognise the need to tackle digital piracy and make it possible for people to buy and sell digital intellectual property online. However, it is vital that any anti-piracy measures promote new business models rather than holding innovation back. This must not be about propping up existing business models but creating an environment that allows

sent an email to my MP (sheffield).
added this:
Surely by assuming guilt this bill violates basic human rights and should be opposed on this alone, regardless of all the other inadequacies that are contained within it?

the bill is solely drawn up by the music industry, introduced by their good friend Peter Mandelson, who is NOT an elected MP, he merely blackmailed Gordon Brown to place him in his government in return for quelling the rebellion that was brewing to challenge Gordon Browns leadership.
the sooner we are rid of this snake the better.
the bill is a disgrace to democracy and more people would be wise to realise this bill NEEDS to be opposed.
It is fundamentally wrong.

I was looking for a way to get involved in this, and this has made it pretty easy for me. Hopefully something will be done about this idiotic bill.

LOL now there will develop a blackmarket internet.All those paranoid syfy stories depecting the govs of the world controlling everything is all falling into place with the advent of the internet and super fast connections to it.I just hope im dead before "Big Brother" has assumed full control of the world.

I sent the email to my MP this morning, had a reply just now:

"Dear Constituent,

Digital Economy Bill
Thank you for your e-mail. I am sure that we (and I), will only support the Bill if it is amended to deal with this problem, but we need to see the amendments promised by the Government before deciding. I am sure it will not go through unamended in the “wash up”.

Yours sincerely,"

This goes against Article 6 (2) of the European Convention on Human Rights. One here is being deemed a criminal before a fair trail is held. You cannot just disconnect someone because they are accused multiple times!

What troubles me is the vested interest that is so plain to see with Lord Mandleson, he spends a nice weekend away with the big media and then decides to put a law in place?

Who voted him in in the first place!

This is just the start

Dcrad said,
What troubles me is the vested interest that is so plain to see with Lord Mandleson, he spends a nice weekend away with the big media and then decides to put a law in place?

Who voted him in in the first place!

This is just the start

I'm still hoping he gets hit by a bus, I've been hoping for a long time and heard it's a very long shot, but I still believe there's a chance that man can do good, by getting flattened!

In addition to disconnecting people, the digital economy bill more a less makes everything from open wi-fi in McDonald's to running a FON router pretty much illegal (since the connection owner will be made responsible for everyone who use's it) "/

I run a FON, but if this pass's i'll have to rethink it because if another fon owner connects and downloads something then i'm liable for it according to this bill "/

Even worse, since i live in a student house and own the web connection, if anyone decides to torrent something and gets caught, its me who's going to end up getting screwed... >.< Its ridiculous enough to expect every mcdonalds or coffee shop to monitor and record all internet usage in order to be safe while offering wifi, its totally insane to expect it of anyone who owns a FON or shares the connecting with other people they live with >.<

... o.0 </rant over>

Disgraceful ... and as with many other laws being used for more than their original purpose (eg, terrorism legislation used to check up on parents sending their kids to school, or owners letting their dogs having more than a wee behind a tree) .. how long until the measures in this bill are used to block unwanted political discussion or revelations/criticisms about politicians or the Government ? ....

*email also sent*

If the French courts can declare the internet a human right surely if the same happened in the UK it would stop the part of this bill that would allow you to be cut off?