The Digital Rights bill must be stopped at all costs.
This is the letter I wrote to my local MP, please consider writing to your local MP urgently before this bill gets passed through. You can even copy the text from this one if you want to (just remember to change the names!)
Dear Phil Thomas,
Might I please bring your attention to a matter that I consider of the up-most urgency.
The sheer gravity of the implications surrounding the Digital Rights bill currently being pushed through Parliament must be stopped at all costs for the very sake of freedom.
The Internet offers us a wealth of knowledge and a level of communication that we have never know in human history.
The Digital Rights bill is a clumsily drafted document that whimsically holds our very freedom in it’s syntax. I believe it would be dangerous to allow anything such as this through, without having given it a great deal of consideration first.
The free world is at stake here, the Europeans would follow suit after the UK and we would have a Government that could be listening in on all communications in to and out of this country.
It is of the up most importance that human rights are not violated. What I find offensive is that there are even members of Parliament that would dare; that would have the audacity, to present this bill in Parliament in the first place.
Could I please ask you to represent the Internet’s and our very own freedom and block this bill from ever going through!
Simon D. Nicol
Please act now before this crazy bill gets passed through Parliament!
I’ve just received a reply from Richard Ottaway (which is a little odd because I wrote to someone called Phil Thomas!) of the Conservatives, I was actually quite surprised at the speed of the response. The letter is dated 16th April 2010 and the copy is as follows.
Dear Mr. Nicol.
Thank you for your recent correspondence concerning the Digital Economy Bill. I share your concern about this piece of legislation and want to make clear the approach my Party has taken.
Britail has been made to wait too long for legislation updating the regulatory environment for the digital and creative industries. I regret that once the government got around to considering these issues, it did not allocate the sufficient time in the House of Commons for proper legislative scrutiny. It says a great deal about their support for the creative industries that despite considering many of these issues as far back as 2006 they have only now just brought this piece of legislation forward.
My Party took the descision to seek to remove those clauses of the Digital Economy Bill thet we did not support or feel received proper legislative scrutiny, while supporting the Bill as a whole. rejecting the Bill would have been an unnacceptable set-back for the important measures it contains.
I support the Bill’s efforts to tackle online copyright infringement. This is an extreamely serious issue that costs the creative industries hundreds of millions of pounds each year. I want to make sure Britain has the most favourable intellectual property framework in the world for innvators, digital content creators and high tech businesses. Internet piracy also puts cinsumers at risk, as those who download illegal material increase the likelihood of their machines being attacked by computer viruses, and are exposed to unverified advertising and inappropriate material.
The measures in the Bill aimed at tackling online copyright infringement received a robust scrutiny in the House of Lords. My Party was concerned about the lack of parliamentary oversight of the original clauses and as such the Bill now has a super-affirmative resolution in it. This means Parliament will debate any odrer that the Secretary of State lays that would allow people to be disconnected. These measures can also not be introduced for 12 months after the Bill becomes law. This mean that we are by no mean rushing in to these decisions and that the next Parliament will be able to consider them beforehand.
The measures in the Bill designed to tackle illegal peer to peer file sharing set up a proportionate regime that would, only following public consultation, repeated warnings and due process, lead to people having their internet connection temporatily suspended. It will not, as many have suggested, lead to people being disconnected without an appeal. Even if people are disconnected they will be able to sign up t another ISP immediately without penalty.
While I have no doubt that these measures could have been improved if the Government had allocated time for this Bill to be debated in Committee, blocking these measures in their entirety would have risked hundreds of thouands of jobs in the TV, file, music and sports industries and was therefore not something we were not willing to do.
My Party and I recognise the need to establish a workable system for unlocking the wealth of inaccessible content known as orphan works, but we have consistently stated that in no way should this Bill actually harm content creators. We were keen to address the problem of people stripping out identifying information from a digital image and wanted to clamp down on this and ensure that the Bill does not encourage such activities. We also wanted specific requirements for a search for the rights holder and a system in place if that rights holder comes forward at a later date. After Government failed to ammend the Bill in line with these protections, we insisted that clause 43 be removed from the Bill.
The debate on copyright is not yet over and my Party will seek to revisit options for a balanced solution as part of a broader update of copyright following the General Election.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact me.
Richard Ottaway (signed with real ink from a real pen!)