What is the Digital Economy Bill?
In a nutshell it’s a new law, controversial to say the least especially since it is being pushed through so quickly without a proper debate in the House of Commons (let alone any form of public consultation). The Bill will quickly become an Act, it has cross-party support and when it does eventually become law it will create a whole new set of crimes many people probably won’t even realise they are committing.
Just by downloading a song or a film from the internet (as so many people do these days) Internet Service Providers could be forced to hand over confidential logs and private data and even be forced to disconnect users, issue fines and even jail sentences.
The main reasons behind the Digital Economy Bill becoming an act stem from the phenomenon of internet “File Sharing”. At the moment the issue is a grey area legally and has been for years. Record Labels are complaining their profits are falling due to a fall in record sales and “talent is suffering” as a result. Considering the HUGE sums of money the entertainment industry generates (and has done for years) by taking large cuts from any profits it is hardly surprising they are kicking up such a fuss.
From my perspective working in the field of human rights, I view the Digital Economy Bill as a huge step to far, if not a massive infringement upon the civil liberties of ordinary citizens doing no harm to anyone. The Law Society in Scotland seem to have come to the same conclusion as have the recently launched Pirate Party (UK) who are fielding ten candidates in the General Election on a platform of three core policies copyright and patent reform, opposing excessive surveillance by the authorities and businesses and freedom of speech.
…why else would David Cameron’s “party of the rich” announce today they are now fully in cahoots with New Labour head-boy (the unelected “Dark Lord” Peter Mandelson) backed by huge multinational corporations who control the record giants and film industry (including several dubious political donors to the main political parties) to rush this rubbish piece of legislation through Parliament as quickly as possible?
This offence to democracy and civil liberties is one of the main reasons I decided to track down Peter Mandleson himself armed with my trusty megaphone and home-made placard when he visited MediaCityUK in Salford last month.
I’ll be posting more about my one-man protest against Mandelson very shortly – so watch this space!
Say NO to the Digital Economy Bill!
The Guardian: The Digital Economy Bill – What you need to know