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.