interweb freedom

(formerly Stop Usage Based Billing)

U.K. Digital Economy Bill and the House of Lords

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on December 16, 2009

Criterion re-release cover art for The Ruling Class

"The Ruling Class" 1972 film

 

The Internet is the ultimate network, a tool that can allow people all over the world to connect and exchange information and assistance, making the world smaller by allowing us to understand one another.  Yes, I am idealistic, which is why I’ve stuck my oar in on things that I wouldn’t likely have even heard of in the pre-internet days, such as the political situation in other countries.

My family has lived in Canada for generations, but did not originate in the British Isles.   So although I grew up in a commonwealth country I don’t have that special reverence British descended Canadians seem to have for Great Britain.   However the U.K. is a part of our world.   I was prompted to write about their political situation in respect of the Digital Economy Bill.   In the same vein I passed along information about The Spanish Manifesto on the rights of Internet Users in A.C.T.A. is BAD.

Because even though I don’t have a direct interest in the laws of these lands, the world is interconnected in ways that it hasn’t been before.   As a citizens of the world everyone needs to do what they can to help one another.

The A.C.T.A. negotiation is serving to bring citizens of many countries together because of the damage that it will inflict on the world.  Although I don’t believe in condemning anything without knowing the facts, the facts of A.C.T.A. are being deliberately witheld from the populace.   More clearly than any of the leaked documents, this fact says that A.C.T.A. will be bad for all the citizens if the world.

Much as I enjoyed the entertaining 1972 film The Ruling Class, it is good to learn that the British House of Lords portrayed so entertainingly does not reflect the state of that institution in today’s Britain.   It seems that the Lords have been paying attention.   Instead of applying heinous punishments on the basis of unfounded accusations they look to be working to re-introduce the rule of law to the Digital Economy Bill through amendments.

Insert the following new Clause—
“Compliance with fundamental rights
In drafting or amending any code, laying any statutory instrument, or taking any other action under sections 124A to 124L of the Communications Act 2003 or under section 302A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, the Secretary of State must demonstrate before such action is implemented that he has considered whether such action is—
(a) necessary and proportionate to the goal of protecting and enforcing copyright, and
(b) that it appropriately balances the interest of rights holders and the interests of the public in due process, privacy, freedom of expression and other fundamental human rights guaranteed by inter alia the European Convention of Human Rights and the EC Charter of Rights.”

Clause 4
LORD RAZZALL
LORD CLEMENT-JONES
Page 6, line 5, after “infringement” insert “allegation”
Page 6, line 12, after “infringement” insert “allegation”
Page 6, line 16, after “infringement” insert “allegation”
Page 6, line 24, at end insert “; and
( ) includes a sworn statement by the person making the report that the information collected has been obtained in compliance with all relevant laws, including data protection and privacy laws, and by persons entitled to gather such information.”
Page 6, line 24, at end insert “; and
( ) includes a sworn statement and evidence that the person making the report owns the requisite copyright.”
Page 6, line 25, at end insert “allegation”

Digital Economy Bill: Amendments to be moved in Committee

At this point these amendments are merely proposed rather than a done deal.   It looks like they are moving in a positive direction.   Yet I’m sure that it would help for British citizens to continue to let your representatives, hereditary or otherwise, know your feelings on the matter.

and it certainly looks as though the plug won’t be pulled simply on the basis of a few unsubstantiated allegations:

“the internet service provider has received fifty or more copyright infringement reports about the relevant subscriber from the copyright owner for that period.”

Digital Economy Bill: Amendments to be moved in Committee

And it would probably also be a good idea to continue to sign the talktalk petition

I find it interesting that so much copyright law is being contemplated and launched in so many countries around the world (Canada, Italy, U.K., Australia, New Zealand, etc.) at the same time as the uber-secret A.C.T.A. negotiations are talking place.   Could it be that the governments involved in the A.C.T.A. negotiations are in fact attempting to get their copyright laws freshly laid as a preliminary defence against the day when A.C.T.A. comes to bear on them?   I wonder.

Thanks to British blogger Glyn Moody.

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