Digital Economy Bill

18 March 2010

I have added my voice to the letter writing campaign on the Digital Economy Bill. My letter to Stephen Williams.

Dear Stephen Williams MP

I am very concerned with the provisions of the Digital Economy Bill.

The proposals to implement censorship (blocking of websites) because of alleged facilitation of copyright violations is a very draconian measure. I am glad that the Liberal Democrats have realised their error and are withdrawing the amendment in the Lords to enact this.

When it returns to the commons the government is proposing to rush this bill through, without adequate debate and scrutiny. I hope you will oppose this and ensure that full and thorough debate on the bill.

The fostering of the digital economy is critical to the future of Britain and our place in the world. The provisions to pander to the big lobbing of the entertainment industry are bound to failure, and will probably cause unintended consequences.

In the USA the Digital Millennium Copyright bill was a reaction the the cracking of the DVD encryption scheme. The bill has failed to protect Blue Ray disks. And has been used by big business to silence embarrassing information, and stifle competition on things like printer cartridges.

In France the HADOPI legislation seems to have increased the amount of file sharing there rather than diminished it. Remember the “Taping is Killing Music” campaign, eventually the entertainment industry embraced the new technology rather than fighting it.

Remember that the the Copyright is a Limited Monopoly that is granted to artists in order to allow them to control the distribution of works. It is a bargain in order to promote the creation of cultural works.

Infringement is a civil matter. Yet the government is proposing to use censorship on accusation, disconnection from the internet without any legal proceedings, and collective punishment.

There is an urgent need to reform Copyright and other Intellectual Property laws, to reflect the technology of the internet, to foster the creative talent that is emerging from back-rooms around the country. Just look at the amazing creativity that is emerging on podcasts, and video sites, using creative commons licences, and beating the big media companies in innovation and promotional success.

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Write to a Lord

1 December 2009

As part of the Opn Rights Group Campaign on the draconian provisions of the Digital Economy bill I wrote to Lord Birt, and a random Lord, Lord Fraser of Carmyllie.

Dear Lord

I write to you to encourage you to reject the proposals before you today for disconnecting alleged file sharers from the internet.

Can you honestly say that a careful review of all of your published material if examined carefully by an intellectual property lawyer would not revel 3 instances of possible copyright infringement. Do you think it fair, if on acquisition only, that you should have your access, and that of all your family members removed. Is that fair.

Do you believe that the existing media organisations truly promote innovation and artistic endeavour, in their promotion of artists. Are these organisations the best way to promote innovation and artistic endeavour.

You must reject this draconian and excessive law.

Just look at the incredible uprising of innovation and talent that the creative commons initiative has encouraged.

I work in the Mobile ISP industry and I know that no ISP will test accusations for validity, they will all just pass them on. The big media companies will use the power given to them to impede the progress of all competition, in the same way the internet take down notices have been used to suppress and censor opposing views.

Yours Sincerely
Stuart Ward


Digtal Economy Bill

25 November 2009

To call the proposed measures draconian and extreme is I think understating the situation. Is the crime of a breach of copyright by ordinary citizens doing the sort of things we have done for many years, but now we are doing them on the Internet and thus breaking the vastly extended remit of copyright. Is this crime so heinous that it warrants bypassing the court system and long established principal of innocent until proven guilty.

Then add to this the clause from the bill that states that “The Secretary of State may at any time by order impose a technical obligation on Internet service providers,” so now Mandy and his successors can demand ISPs take any other measures that he may consider appropriate without consulting parliament, or even a judge.

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See also Stuart Langridge’s, Wendy M Grossman, and Cory Doctorow’s Comments.