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March 02, 2010 | Jim Killock

Lib Dems seek web blocking

 

After Clause 16
 
LORD RAZZALL
 
LORD CLEMENT-JONES
112
Insert the following new Clause—
  
"Preventing access to specified online locations
  
In Part 1 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, after section 97A insert—
"97B
Preventing access to specified online locations
(1)  
The High Court (in Scotland, the Court of Session) shall have power to grant an injunction against a service provider, requiring it to prevent access to online locations specified in the order of the Court.
(2)  
In determining whether to grant an injunction under subsection (1), the Court shall have regard to the following matters—
(a)  
whether a substantial proportion of the content accessible at or via each specified online location infringes copyright,
(b)  
the extent to which the operator of each specified online location has taken reasonable steps to prevent copyright infringing content being accessed at or via that online location or taken reasonable steps to remove copyright infringing content from that online location (or both),
(c)  
whether the service provider has itself taken reasonable steps to prevent access to the specified online location, and
(d)  
any other matters which appear to the Court to be relevant.
(3)  
An application for an injunction under subsection (1) shall be made on notice to the service provider and to the operator of each specified online location in relation to which an injunction is sought.
(4)  
Where—
(a)  
the Court grants an injunction under subsection (1) upon the application of an owner of copyright whose copyright is infringed by the content accessible at or via each specified online location in the injunction, and
(b)  
the owner of copyright before making the application made a written request to the service provider giving it a reasonable period of time to take measures to prevent its service being used to access the specified online location in the injunction, and no steps were taken,
 
the Court shall order the service provider to pay the copyright owner's costs of the application unless there were exceptional circumstances justifying the service provider's failure to prevent access despite notification by the copyright owner.
(5)  
In this section—
 
"copyright owner" includes a licensee with an "exclusive licence" within the meaning of section 92 of this Act,
 
"infringing content" means content which is produced or made available in infringement of copyright,
 
"online location" means a location on the internet, a mobile data network or other data network at or via which copyright infringing content is accessible,
 
"operator" means a person or persons in joint or sole control of the decisions to make content accessible at or via an online location, and
 
"service provider" has the meaning given to it by section 97A(3) of this Act.""

Lib Dem peers are seeking to amend the Digital Economy Bill to allow site blocking for copyright infringement. This could lead to unwanted blocking of sites accused of copyright infringement, including sites like Youtube, and a massive chilling effect as any site with user generated content could easily fall foul of provisions like this.

Please write to Lords Razzall and Clement Jones (direct links at Write to them)

After Clause 16

LORD RAZZALL

LORD CLEMENT-JONES

112

Insert the following new Clause—

"Preventing access to specified online locations  

In Part 1 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, after section 97A insert—

"97B Preventing access to specified online locations

(1)  The High Court (in Scotland, the Court of Session) shall have power to grant an injunction against a service provider, requiring it to prevent access to online locations specified in the order of the Court.

(2)  In determining whether to grant an injunction under subsection (1), the Court shall have regard to the following matters—

(a)  whether a substantial proportion of the content accessible at or via each specified online location infringes copyright,

(b)  the extent to which the operator of each specified online location has taken reasonable steps to prevent copyright infringing content being accessed at or via that online location or taken reasonable steps to remove copyright infringing content from that online location (or both),

(c)  whether the service provider has itself taken reasonable steps to prevent access to the specified online location, and

(d)  any other matters which appear to the Court to be relevant.

(3)  An application for an injunction under subsection (1) shall be made on notice to the service provider and to the operator of each specified online location in relation to which an injunction is sought.

(4)  Where—

(a)  the Court grants an injunction under subsection (1) upon the application of an owner of copyright whose copyright is infringed by the content accessible at or via each specified online location in the injunction, and

(b)  the owner of copyright before making the application made a written request to the service provider giving it a reasonable period of time to take measures to prevent its service being used to access the specified online location in the injunction, and no steps were taken,

the Court shall order the service provider to pay the copyright owner's costs of the application unless there were exceptional circumstances justifying the service provider's failure to prevent access despite notification by the copyright owner.

(5) In this section—

"copyright owner" includes a licensee with an "exclusive licence" within the meaning of section 92 of this Act,

"infringing content" means content which is produced or made available in infringement of copyright,

"online location" means a location on the internet, a mobile data network or other data network at or via which copyright infringing content is accessible,

"operator" means a person or persons in joint or sole control of the decisions to make content accessible at or via an online location, and

"service provider" has the meaning given to it by section 97A(3) of this Act.""

Write via writethem them:

Please write to Lords Razzall and Clement Jones (via Write to them)

 

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Comments (34)

  1. Tom:
    Mar 04, 2010 at 03:31 PM

    Dear Lord Clement-Jones,

    I am extremely shocked to learn that as a liberal democrat you are requesting the amendment of the digital rights bill to include the blocking of websites for infringement of copyright.

    I strongly believe in the need for owners of digital content to be able to protect their content.

    However, not only is this bill immoral in principal, it is utterly impractical and ultimately also probably unenforceable.

    As an IT technician of some years experience I am amazed that your technical informants are telling you otherwise.

    That aside, as I say, the bill seeks to punish without fair recourse to judicial process the larger body of internet users at the behest of commercial and corporate forces, who have simply taken the stance of lazy bullies who would rather see the freedoms of the individual in this country circumvented, than attempt to address the technical apsects of copyright infringement.

    This bill is a dreadful waste of money and resources, and instead of making pointless requests for amendments, you should inform yourself of the technical aspects, establish why this bill will be irrelevant in a matter of months if it is passed - then get it thrown out !

    Yours sincerely,

    T

  2. Anonymous:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 03:05 PM

    As an impressionable voter and university student who has supported the Liberal Democrats since leaving the womb I am highly surprised and a little bit disgusted that the LIBERAL share of the party's name is being so flagrantly misunderstood. This little amendment is yet another anti-progressive obstacle to what the Internet could, would and should be.

    Just ask anyone intelligent under the age of 30.

  3. gargle:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 01:44 PM

    I've just read about your awful addition to the horrific Digital Economy Bill. I'm a Lib Dem party member and I'm not very happy about this most illiberal addition to an already illiberal bill. This really makes me think twice about my membership. Please drop it. This is not what our party is meant to be in politics for.

    Yours sincerely,

  4. Florian:
    Mar 04, 2010 at 03:34 PM

    Dear Lord Howard,

    I understand that you are introducing a new amendment in today's debate on the Digital Economy Bill in the House of Lords.

    I am very concerned about this and believe that it will make things much worse as it would allow web blocking, i.e. censorship.

    Under the proposal copyright holders could ask a court to block a website because they believe it infringes their right. This would lead to a great imbalance of power as large copyright holders have the financial resources to take legal action. On the other hand, smaller companies would be confronted with a great number of these legal actions and could be forced to shut down their business.

    It is not in your interest to promote censorship which is what the amendment would allow. It would create a chilling effect on free speech and innovation online!

    Therefore I strongly urge you not to move amendment 120a.

    Thank you very much.

    Yours sincerely,



  5. James Thomas:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    Dear Lord Razzall,

    Thank you for taking the time to read this communication.

    I have been a long time admirer of the strong stand you have taken on gay and lesbian rights, the protection of the individuals’ personal freedoms and the introduction of I.D. cards so it was with huge disappointment that I learnt of the amendment you helped to table, to the Digital Economy Bill. As I am sure you are aware, allowing any restrictions on access to online content is open to the widest interpretation by the legal system and it will be used to restrict access to commentary and investigative pieces that by their very nature may contain aspects of a company’s intellectual property. Surely our existing copyright laws are sufficient to prosecute existing and future infringements’ without this unnecessary means of potentially blocking access to genuine content?

    Kind regards

    James Thomas

  6. Anonymous:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    Dear Lord ?,

    I have been following the debate on the Digital Economy Bill very closely as I had very many specific concerns with the original text.

    I've have just read the amendment that you wish to propose (Amendment 112). I am outraged and disappointed that such a proposal would come from the Liberal Democrats.

    This amendment would introduce a process that would further limit digital freedoms. It gives carte blanche to large media companies to silence any critics. This is in clear violation of the right to free speech, and right to fair use. I give an example:

    1) I wish to criticise Weasel News' coverage of the earthquake in Haiti.

    2) I post a small clip of the coverage to my website along with a critical commentary. This is permissible under fair use.

    3) Weasel News file for an injunction, it is granted; criticism silenced.

    This amendment could also be abused as a means of censorship.

    As with much of this bill, the problem is an extremely broad scope of the process, allowing their use in places not intended; the processes are protecting particular special interest groups (copyright owners) at great expense to the general public; and no safeguards are built into the process to protect the rights of the individual, specifically in this amendment, the right to appeal (what is the process of getting your site unlisted again?) and the right to fair use of copyrighted material.

    Withdraw this short-sighted, abusive amendment.

    This email has also been send to your fellow Peer.

    Yours sincerely,

  7. Paul Hayes:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    Blocking websites is a ridiculous and harmful notion. Please don't take us a step backwards into a world of corporate censorship. Those who stand to gain have too much already.

    Please research the actually state of the internet at present. Films and Games make huge revenue from the internet, both through online purchasing of physical media, and through on demand services (ranging from netflix, lovefilm, and services launched by traditional television channels such as 4OD and bbc iplayer). The internet doesn't need any legislation in this area, government tampering will only do harm.


  8. Mike Minh:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    In Germany a website blocking law has just failed totally, on the much more serious issue of "blocking child pornography". You can't fight technological development with some law, it will always be miles behind.

    The BIG change is not copyright violation, the real change are new distribution models for copyright holders, without the middlemen of the music and film industry.

    Silly law, not needed, not wanted. Start understanding the web, not fighting it.

  9. TimD:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    Oh, dear gods, this is unbelievable. Who on earth is putting them up to this - surely any sane LibDem could see the implications of this?!?

    My 2p-worth:

    ---

    I'm writing to you regarding the amendment that you have proposed to the Digital Economy Bill, "97B Preventing access to specified online locations".

    As it stands, this amendment has the potential to enable wide-scale abuse by those who would wish to suppress information which could otherwise be placed into the public domain. Trafigura and Parliamentary expenses are just two examples which could have been suppressed if your amendment had been in place in the last year. If Robert Maxwell were around today, this amendment would be exactly what he would have asked for.

    Web filtering is a fundamentally-flawed means of dealing with alleged copyright infringements, and your amendment would be profoundly undemocratic. The UK government has an dreadful record when it comes to freedom of information and democratic discourse online - this amendment plays directly into their hands.

    I am appalled that members of the one party which has consistently tried to bring some sanity to the otherwise fundamentally flawed bill would see fit to table such an illiberal and easy-to-abuse amendment, and it's making me question my support for the Liberal Democrats. I'm asking you to withdraw these proposed changes immediately.

    ---

  10. Rob Johnson:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 09:52 AM

    This isn't China!

  11. ST:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 10:06 AM


    Could I take this opportunity to ask you to seriously reconsider your proposals to amend the Digital Economy Bill?

    While I strongly dislike the idea of cutting people off from the internet, what I find truly objectionable is the power your proposal puts in the hands of purported copyright holders.

    It worries me that someone claiming to hold copyright could for malicious reasons take a website offline. Your proposals give more power to people who can afford the most lawyers and, it pains me to say, the most lobbyists.

    The Liberal Democrats have repeatedly talked the most sense about human rights in the digital age, and it saddens me to see that dashed by these proposals.

    Can you please rethink your proposals, and perhaps consider whether it is artists and performers you want to protect or merely entertainment industry lawyers?

  12. Becky Hogge:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 09:47 AM

    My letter to both Lords:

    "I write with regard to the amendment you have proposed to the Government's Digital Economy Bill, which seeks to block websites suspected of copyright infringement. I would urge you to reconsider this illiberal proposal, and withdraw the amendment.

    "I'm afraid this rushed piece of legislation, which I'm sure you are well aware has been deeply influenced by lobbying from a number of wealthy multinational media companies, fails completely to take into account both the basic rights of UK citizens to fair legal process, privacy and free expression, and the longer-term interests of the digital economy. Your amendment does nothing to improve it, and leads me to question my sympathy for the values of your party.

    Yours sincerely,

    Becky Hogge"

  13. Richard Wilson:
    Mar 02, 2010 at 07:40 PM

    Dear Lords Razzall and Clement-Jones,

    Please drop the web-blocking amendment. I'm astonished that as Liberal Democrat peers you are attempting to introduce such an illiberal, and obviously-easy-to-abuse measure. This is absolutely shocking - and makes me question my membership of the Party. Please think again.

    Richard Wilson

  14. paul:
    Mar 02, 2010 at 08:13 PM

    this is yet another attack on digital freedom, websites are going to have issues, with copyright, however. Its clearly open to abuse, what happens if a large company infringes copy right of a small company or invididual, how can the invidual afford to take them on, they can't so its a one way thing.

    The whole bill is an attack on democracy, get rid of it.

  15. Jim Killock:
    Mar 02, 2010 at 08:44 PM

    Dear Lords Razzall and Clement-Jones,

    There are at least two types of BAD Law!
    ----------------------------------------

    1./ Those that cannot be fairly or properly implemented
    2/ Laws that are set up to suit particular factions within society at the expense of others.

    1/ Applies here it is an impractical exercise those that want to be able to break such a Law already have the means to do so!

    This will also make it much harder for Law Enforcement Agencies to differentiate between Legal from illegal communications.
    Try looking at the Technology First!
    http://www.vpntools.com/vpntools_articles/vpn-tunnel.htm

    2/ The Current Digital Economy Bill is emphasizing the Rights of LARGE BUSINESS FACTIONS & IGNORING (at the expense of) the Copyright/Intellectual Property Rights of INDIVIDUALS INCLUDING YOU!

  16. Simon:
    Mar 02, 2010 at 08:55 PM

    Dear Lord ????,

    I have been following with great interest the passage of the digital economy bill through the house of lords and have enjoyed watching the debates on BBC democracy live and the accompanying conversation on twitter(http://search.twitter.com/?q=debill). I have been impressed with the fight against some of the motions put forward by the government and I hope that this continues. The measures in the bill regarding disconnection, mandatory blocking of a free/open internet and abuse of photographers copyright are dreadful from a technical, legal and moral perspective. The rights of individuals are being trodden on by a government obsessed with control.
    I have been made aware that there is an amendment due to be tabled in the morning which will allow entire sites to be blocked if they are accused of infringing copyright(http://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2010/lib-dems-seek-web-blocking). In my view this gives the government of the day frankly Orwellian control over what we are allowed to see, use & do on the internet. In my view it is a bad amendment to a bad bill and should not be suggested to a government which has too much power already.

    I hope you will consider this before the debate on Wednesday and I will be watching with interest.


    Yours sincerely,

  17. R Jones:
    Mar 02, 2010 at 09:19 PM

    I fail to see why the current copyright laws are insufficient for a rights holder to take action against a website containing infringing content. I am surprised to see Liberal Democrate peers sponsoring a measure that basically privileges the film and music industries against websites. The film and music industries appear to have successfully lobbied for their special interests to be protected by the Digital Economy Bill at the expense of website owners.

  18. CF:
    Mar 02, 2010 at 09:29 PM

    I am writing as someone who has been following the committee and report stages of the Digital Economy Bill and is in broad agreement with the Liberal Democrat response to this rushed and illiberal piece of proposed legislation.

    I am writing to express my unhappiness with your amendment 112 which seems to propose a Cleanfeed-style system for copyright infringement. As an administrator of Wikipedia I am very aware of the problems with webfiltering - we had a 1970s album cover falsely flagged by the IWF which caused endless problems. All user generated content sites are at risk from this.

    Web filtering for something as minor as copyright infringement is horrific. This is considerably worse than the dreadful clause 17.

  19. Natanael_L:
    Mar 02, 2010 at 10:33 PM

    Look closely and you'll notice that all open proxies are covered (due to the extensive use of "via").

  20. N.J.:
    Mar 02, 2010 at 11:19 PM

    Without any intention to over-dramatise, I call upon the clarity of your past political decisions for reaching beyond and understanding the effects of the proposed amendments to the Digital Economy Bill on the digitally evolving intellectual life and culture of Britain. Our children will not be grateful for this brave new world.

    Because this is going to be a world where they’ll have eyes but no vision; where they’ll have ears but no hearing; where they’ll have mouths but no voice. This is barely a hyperbole.

    Blocking access to websites entails crucial risks for liberty, for the freedom of expression and for the right to impart information, and I truly hope that you have realised the possible impacts of the discussed proposals: they bear tremendous societal accountability. Picture the offline analogy: walls built in front of news stores, people forced by law to turn their heads away from copyrighted images on billboards or to stop humming a well-known song because humming practically constitutes reproduction of recorded material. This is precisely the dystopian potential of the amendment at hand for the life online.

    Of course, the amendment provides that courts will eventually decide over the matter, and the courts may as well strike down such a law. However, until something like that occurs, ISPs, preferring to avoid being taken to court by the few powerful intellectual property stakeholders on the market (and they are few, and they are powerful in terms of resources and control over the relevant market, and as the U.S. experience has shown us they are pretty willing to chase up even the slightest sign of an alleged violation of their control over copyrighted material) ISPs will comply to their requests without disputing or checking the soundness and legitimacy of their allegations.

    This is civil terror.

    I sincerely hope you have not underrated the significance of online communications for the younger generations as an environment of political and civil education, where they may seek to develop expression and personality without the uneven interference of corporate minded media.
    If we are to grow up responsible citizens, this particular legal scheme is not the solution: accountability is replaced by threats of societal exclusion (for that is the inability to enter a web-venue); the values and principles of citizenship are replaced by antagonistic and high-handed consumerist trends (because you are placing higher the wants of business than the circulation of information). The amendment is a gift to those monopolising the market of knowledge and culture; whereas they should be controlled and deterred from instructing our beliefs, your proposals offers them the power of law on the plate, to use it as a bullying tool in any occasion that appearances of user conduct wouldn’t be of their liking.
    In principle and in results the as suggested laws are not speaking on Democratic but on Plutocratic terms; and the language they use is definitely not Liberal but – from skin down to the heart - Neo-Liberal.

    For that I am kindly inviting you to reconsider.

  21. Steve Hayes:
    Mar 02, 2010 at 11:57 PM

    Cannot believe you are putting this amendment.
    After Clause 16

    LORD RAZZALL

    LORD CLEMENT-JONES

    112 ....

    Who are lobbying you and feeding you rubbish? You are supposed to be defending DEMOCRACY.
    If you do not understand what you are doing take INDEPENDENT ADVICE!!!

  22. Miles Dumble:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 02:05 AM

    Dear Lord Razzall and Lord Clement-Jones,

    Please drop Amendment 112.

    The Digital Economy Bill tramples over the rights of the ordinary Internet user enough as it is and your amendment would make it even worse, putting any site with user-generated content at risk. In many ways, this amendment goes even further than the rightly dismissed Section 17, and I'm shocked that Liberal Democrat Peers wish to introduce such Draconian measures.

    This Bill already gives the corporations tremendous power by subverting "innocent until proven guilty" justice and casting them as judge and jury. Please don't give them the role of executioner as well.

  23. DL George:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 02:10 AM


    You are are disgrace to Parliamentary Democracy - move to China or Iran where you will be welcomed as you are not wanted in the UK.

    You should be fighting this bill in its entirely not making it more extreme.

    Liberal Democrat indeed. I shudder to think what your forebears will be thinking right now, but my Party resignation is sealed.

  24. Dewi Morgan:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 03:41 PM

    (NOTE: when sending, I changed the message slightly for each minister, since the site says it won't deliver exact cut-n-paste duplicates.)
    (Hah! My recaptcha was "to freak" :D)

    Re: Digital Economy Bill, Amendment 112.

    Dear Lord Razzall,

    I have been watching with interest your excellent work with the Digital Economy bill.

    First, let me thank you for standing up for everyone, by highlighting many of the due process concerns, and for stating how draconian a punishment disconnection would be. This is EXACTLY why I vote Lib Dem: you seem the only people with your heads screwed on right!

    I do not object to much of the bill, in principle at least. After all, as a computer programmer, my livelihood depends on my copyright being respected: but at the same time, my competitors should not, without just cause, be able to block me from doing business on the internet.

    I'm very surprised to see that you have proposed an amendment to allow site blocking for alleged copyright infringement, in a way even more draconian than the US' DMCA.

    This amendment has (I feel) two main flaws.

    Firstly, it seems clearly open to abuse: large companies can and do already have sites shut down by accusing them of copyright infringement under the existing laws, and the small businesses they attack then have to either cave, or pay through the nose to legally defend their works as original or fair use.

    This has happened to me already, under existing copyright law. Please don't make it even harder for me and many other small businesses to compete.


    Secondly, and perhaps more seriously, this amendment (as currently phrased) permits the government to block all anonymising and proxying sites (eg the TOR network, etc), as well as merely the hosting sites themselves.

    So the amendment, if left with the current phrasing, could spell the end of anonymity in the internet. And as I'm sure you know, anonymity is essential for free speech.

    In truth, I cannot believe this idea came from yourselves, as it is so far from your normal common sense approach, and so heavily weighted in favour of big business. Please speak sternly to the responsible lobbyists, and show them the door. They clearly don't have our party's interests at heart.

    Yours sincerely,
    Dewi Morgan

  25. Matthew Weinreb:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 08:33 AM

    Hi there,
    I have voted for you as long as I can remember, but this legislation is fatally flawed. You are essentially sponsoring digital dictatorship... I am a photographer, so my living is supported by my ©, however, this bill is sponsored by people who have zero understanding of the internet and the freedom it typifies. A freedom that has, until now, been well represented by the Lib Dems. However as long as you are going to behave like the authorities in China I feel that I must withdraw my support from you completely.

  26. Jim Killock:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 08:52 AM

    Great everyone's posting these comments here, just want to make sure nobody misses the links to email Lords Razzal and Clement Jones directly above!

  27. Andrew Hickey:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 08:58 AM

    I would hope that everyone would note that this *isn't* an action from the Liberal Democrats as a party, but just two party members, who unfortunately happen to be in the House of Lords...

  28. Tom Adams:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 09:03 AM

    Dear Lords Clement-Jones and Razzall,

    I am writing to tell you that your proposed amendment to the digital economy bill starting "Preventing access to specified online locations" is a very bad idea. It should not be possible to curtail freedom of speech for a tort such as copyright. Also, we already have the Internet Watch Foundation's secret blacklist which most major ISPs subscribe to. If somebody wanted to censor vast swathes of the Web (which is what will happen if your amendment and the bill passes), they can already sneakily get the Web site added to the IWF's blacklist, so this legislation from the point of view of somebody working for the mainland Chinese governemnt, is unneccessary.

    Yours sincerely,
    Tom Adams

  29. Jim Killock:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 09:08 AM

    Hi Andrew,

    Lords Razzall and Clement Jones have done very good work on this Bill, including highlighting many of the due process concerns, and referencing how draconian a punishment disconnection would be. I am sure this is just a misunderstanding, or a 'probing motion'; as on the surface protecting users from "bad" content might seem a good idea.

    However for accuracy I should say that they are on the front bench of the LDs in the Lords, so they do speak on behalf of the LDs as a party in the upper chamber.

  30. Matt Mower:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 09:09 AM

    Written to both Lords.

    It's not bad enough that Mandelson & pals are foisting this wretched DE bill on us without the forces of Liberalism chipping in with this nonsense.

  31. Jamie Dowling:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 09:20 AM

    Dear Lord Clement-Jones,

    I have followed the Lords' workings on the Digital Economy Bill with a mixture of concern about the bill's contents, appreciation of the many correct criticisms made by noble Lords and Ladies and downright horror at some of the justifications given by government.

    Amendment 112 falls into the downright horror category. This bill is a clumsy attempt by a government to seize control of and censor something about which it fails to understand and therefore fears. The bedrock of English Law, that someone is innocent until proven guilty has already been shattered by this poorly thought out and draconian bill.

    Disconnection, mandatory blocking of what is a free and open internet and the unwarranted abuse of photographers copyright are dreadful from any liberal perspective. This is a bill intended to stamp on individuals' rights and freedoms, the hallmark of a control obsessed government.

    Amendment 112 would not be out of place coming from this government. That is comes from a Liberal Democrat beggars belief. The current copyright laws are more than adequate for dealing with alleged breaches. This amendment plays into the hands of a government which has sold its soul to the media corporations. These corporations do not want to change, are desperate to maintain their failing business models and seek to subvert the main principle of English Law in doing so. Innocent until proven guilty is being sacrificed here. Allegations over evidence is not the hallmark of a democratic society.

    I repsectfully ask you to reconsider this Amendment and withdraw it; it has no place in any genuinely Liberal outlook on life.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jamie Dowling

  32. Pete:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 09:23 AM

    here's the letter I wrote to the two Lords via the links above: https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AbDsyrb5T6sgYWpoYnF4aGYyM2dkXzIxaDlxZzczdnY&hl=en

    feel free to copy and amend as you see fit - but it was written in haste... Hopefully it will open a dialogue with the folks in question in some form however and then more detailed discussion can take place...

  33. Anonymous:
    Mar 03, 2010 at 01:38 PM

    Can you explain how the web blocking amendment you have proposed fits in with the Liberal Democrats 'Freedom Bill' and other ideological positions outlined in your 2010 pocket guide?

    Why exactly are you so keen to give more censorship powers to a government which has repeatedly tried to suppress evidence of its involvement in torture? How will government run censorship "restore and protect our civil liberties"?

    I understood that the Liberal Democrats wanted to "Get big money out of politics". Why is it appropriate to create an easily abused law to support a single industry? How does this square with creating an amendment designed to prop up the music and film industries?

    Quite frankly, you are contemptible. Your position on this issue just confirms that the Liberal Democrats are in the pockets of big business as much as Labour and the Conservatives, and that your support for civil liberties is, at best, skin deep.

  34. Kate:
    Nov 28, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    What is the use to write to Lords Razzall if there is no online petition to be signed? Who will ever read our complaints? I don't know, but this doesn't seem effective to me.



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