October 19, 2009 | Jim Killock

YouGov / ORG poll: disconnection is a clear vote loser

Our new YouGov poll, paid for by the generous donations of ORG supporters like you, shows exactly why Mandelson’s disconnection proposals are such a bad idea.

As our press release explains, the poll shows that internet disconnection would be affect citizens severely, that they support the right to due process, and that perhaps a third would be much less likely to vote for a party supporting disconnection as a sanction.

Our conclusion must be that this is a politically unwise move, that will be unpopular and a vote loser for its architects. It will also fail to meet its objectives: it won’t make a single penny for artists, or help online music businesses get off the ground.

Last week, our arguments were strongly echoed by the All Party Communications Group (AP Comms), who advised that disconnection be rejected.

We know why the government has been persuaded to go down this disastrous path, but we’re not ready to let our rights be sacrificed. The right to freedom of expression, a fair trial, to be presumed innocent until proven guilty: and for proportionate punishments, these are basic principles on which democratic societies are built.

For these reasons, we believe that many MPs will understand and support what we are saying.

That’s why we will be asking you to write to your MP to support Tom Watson’s cross-party Early Day Motion, 1997, on file sharing:

That this House notes with concern the Government's proposals on file sharing which would allow rights holders to request internet service providers to disconnect for a period of time, or throttle, the internet connection of people who may be accused of copyright infringement via peer to peer networks; believes that disconnecting alleged offenders will be futile given that it is relatively easy for determined file-sharers to mask their identity or their activity to avoid detection; acknowledges that illicit file-sharing only costs rights-holders money when people download infringing content in preference to buying it; further notes that identifying offenders using the Internet Protocol address of a specific machine may punish those who share a web connection; and calls on the Government to ensure that any citizen accused of illicit file-sharing is given the right to legal redress in a court of law before sanctions are imposed.

This will be a big effort. We need to encourage every MP to sign up. We need all your help, there is a lot more at stake than our approach to copyright. So please write today.