Glenn Posted March 20, 2010 Share Posted March 20, 2010 Those of you that follow me on twitter or facebook or anywhere else will know that I've spent the last few weeks banging on about what an affront to democracy the Digital Economy Bill is, but it dawned on me, if it becomes law (there is still time to stop it), any site where users are allowed to add their own content (i.e. forums, youtube, wikipedia, myspace, facebook etc) only needs to be ACCUSED of copyright infringement 3 times before ISPs can be asked to block it. Now, over the years despite our best efforts to police it and to educate you guys on what it's acceptable to add, we've had numerous legal threats over copyright, some fair (normally where an unknowing user will cut and paste something to the forum from another site) and some not (we've had legal threats from other news outlets for stealing their content from press releases sent to both of us), but the important thing is under the new law, it's not three prosecutions for copyright infringements, we only need to be accused. It simply wouldn't be viable to operate a forum under those conditions. There are some other nasty clauses in there, at a personal level, if you personally are accused of copyright infringement three times you can lose your net connection that scares the hell out of me, do YOU check the copyright ownership of EVERYTHING you download? The same rule will also put an end to free wifi in pubs, hotels and cafes as they too can be cut off because of the actions of their users. There is a lot more controversy behind the bill. It seems that certain clauses where taken directly from suggestions written by the BPI (British Phonograph Industry, the people who want to prosecute you for downloading copyrighted music) and a leaked memo from the BPI says they are trying to push this bill through in a period before the election known as "wash up" where bills get passed without debate (effectively both sides start a "if you don't oppose this, we won't oppose that" system of horse trading) they state it's essential to avoid debate! Peter Mandleson has already said he expects this to be "fast tracked" during Wash Up. The good news is, there has been a huge amount of grass roots action on this and MPs are starting to take note (I know the MP for Accrington has responded to some of the people that have written to him, but Colin Challen, MP for Morley & Rotherwell has yet to respond to me) but we still need much much more. If this bill is snuck through unchanged then the internet we know it will change forever, we'll all be sat only able to view websites the government wants (don't tell me sites like wikileaks wont suddenly vanish), you'll only be able to connect via the ISPs that can afford to monitor your content and you'll be living in fear of clicking that badly described link to something your mate has sent in case it happens to download something copyrighted and you lose your net access. So. What can YOU do ? Firstly don't take my word for it. Check out the articles on the bill. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/mar/19/digital-bill-open-letter http://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2009/digital-economy-bill'>http://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2009/digital-economy-bill http://blogscript.blogspot.com/2010/03/day-democracy-died-deb.html http://www.boingboing.net/2010/03/16/brits-ask-your-mp-to.html http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8500876.stm http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8390623.stm http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/mar/16/digital-economy-bill-piracy-scrutiny http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Economy_Bill Next. ACT ! Firstly, make your MP aware. Over 10,000 people have written to their MP over the last few days, but some are still viewing this as a vocal minority of music thieves rather than people who care about the internet and democracy. There are a number of ways to make them aware. The easiest is to go to http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/extremeinternetl They'll find your MP for you and provide you with a template email that they can send in your name (although I urge you to modify, extend and personalise it and it'll carry much more weight). Even better go to http://www.theyworkforyou.com/ and find your MP's address and send them a letter (that carries even more weight) Also http://www.openrightsgroup.org are organising protests and of course, the best thing you can do it tell everyone, to make it impossible to have this swept under the carpet. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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