interweb freedom

(formerly Stop Usage Based Billing)

Posts Tagged ‘Digital Economy Bill’

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
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.

STOP Usage Based Billing

Posted in Changing the World | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

UK Downsized to Two Strikes

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on November 26, 2009

No Usage Based Billing

No Usage Based Billing

Well, I must say I was sorry to hear that Great Britain has introduced a very scary Digital Economy Bill.

I first learned about it on Cory Doctorow’s Boing Boing Article: Britain’s new Internet law — as bad as everyone’s been saying, and worse. Much, much worse while doing a bit of research for my nearly completed NaNoWriMo novel.  I thought that the concept of a “Three Strikes Law: was insane enough, but we’re still in a global recesssion, so the British version is a slimmed down “Two Strikes” version.

I was particularly saddened to see HRH Queen Elizabeth read out the Bill’s introduction:

“My government will introduce a Bill to ensure the communications infrastructure is fit for the digital age, supports future economic growth, delivers complicity of communications and enhances public service broadcasting. ”

— HRH Queen Elizabeth in BBC NEWS Government lays out digital plans

I realize that Her Majesty must rely on the advice of her government, but it seems that in the past she has usually demonstrated a better understanding of what is good for her country. Even if her grandchildren haven’t brought her up to speed on this one as far as the cultural aspects go, on a purely political front, this legislation essentially puts British Law enforcement to work as a collection agency for already over powerful media megacorporations.

Perhaps saddest is that this law will essentially do the opposite of what HRH’s remarks promised. This one statement has probably done more harm to the British Monarchy than any challenge faced in the 20th Century. Perhaps Elizabeth won’t have to deal with the after effects, but certainly her grandson will need to deal with the fallout.

Although this law does not directly affect Canada it may in fact turn around and bite us as well. The fact is that this type of foolishness tends to add an appearance of “legitimacy” to wrong headed lawmaking.

The absolute worst thing about all of these laws seems to me the lack of evidence. During the bloodiest Days of the French Revolution, all it took was one voice raised–


and ANYONE could wind up being trundled off to Madame Guillotine, guilty or not. Pressuring ISPs to inform on their customers is bad, yet even worse is the apparent lack of requirements for any evidentiary substantiation. The possibilities for abuse of such ill founded laws are staggering. Part of me wonders if this law will apply equally to the politicians and their families. What is really outrageous is that entire families can be made to suffer the punishment for one alleged offender. And the precedent for this is…?

Talk Talk is also challenging the law with this petition

Telegraph: Stephen Fry backs Digital Economy Bill protests looks at Stephen Fry’s Twitter campaign to support the Talk Talk petition.

BBC NEWS: Security warning over wireless networks British ISP TalkTalk illustrates how easily abuses will be able to happen, potentially implicating innocent users who could be easily targeted due to insecure wireless network connections.

“we’ve got to get over this mindset that peer-to-peer sharing of music is stealing.”

—Don Tapscott: The UK government’s Digital Economy Bill is deeply flawed

Channel 4's The I.T.Crowd cast

“Countries that declare war on copying – and on all those businesses that are born digital – are yielding their economic futures to countries that embrace it, creating a regime that nurtures the net and those who use it.”

—The Guardian’s Cory Doctorow: Why does Mandelson favour the Analogue Economy over the Digital?

Sadly it seems that the British Government isn’t savvy enough to watch Channel Four’s hilarious I.T. Crowd or they might realize the absolute ridiculousness of this type of legislation, as shown in the The I.T. Crowd parody video piracy commercial I found on YouTube.

Open Offer to Our British Cousins:

My BitTorrent post explains how BitTorrent actually works but more importantly it lists information about the many good legal uses for file sharing (and links). Since the blog is in the public domain you can use whatever will help make your case in submissions to your MP’s in challenging this bad law.

[*note:  a few creative commons images which do require attribution… basically anything with a photo-credit]

Speak out loudly.

This law criminalizes personal use copying, equating personal use downloading with professional bootleggers making a profit. This means that individuals will be liable for the £50,000 fine– the same as Joe Bootlegger.

Moving to a different jurisdiction will not help. It might appear to be a good idea short term, but this is happening EVERYWHERE. The only way to put this down is to fight. In every jursidiction. And help educate since the media isn’t about to. The best thing you can do is speak out.

I wish the United Kingdom good luck.

STOP Usage Based Billing

Posted in Changing the World | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »