May 27, 2010 | Jim Killock

The future of the Digital Economy Act is in your hands

You may have read in the last few days that the Lib Dems have committed to removing the dangerous parts of the Digital Economy Act, while Jeremy Hunt, as the Conservative minister responsible, has said that he won’t.

And you may have seen yesterday that Julian Huppert, the new Lib Dem MP for Cambridge, has started a ‘Early Day Motion’ to get MPs from all parties to publicly call for repeal:

That this House believes that sections nine to 18 of the Digital Economy Act 2010 should not have been rushed through in the dying days of the last Parliament; further believes that these sections have large repercussions for consumers, civil liberties, freedom of information and access to the internet; and calls on the Government to introduce early legislation to repeal those provisions.

Meanwhile, Eric Joyce is organising an All Parliamentary Group – that is, a cross-party organisation to try to deal with the Bill.

Yesterday, ORG and other opponents of the Digital Economy Act submitted responses to the Cost consultation for the first part of the provisions. These provisions allow for copyright holders to send letters to people who may be infringing their copyright licenses, through a scheme run by Ofcom.

The government is proposing two very dangerous ideas: firstly that ISPs customers should pay 25% of the costs of monitoring and sending letters.

Secondly, the government is asking whether people appealing against incorrect notifications should pay an advance fee before being allowed to appeal.

We firmly reject these notions. Potentially vast numbers of letters will be sent out to customers, allowing for very frequent errors, even at a low level of inaccuracy. We know that ISPs do not currently keep particularly accurate time stamp records. So it is vital that people who are accused are able to make early corrections of these mistakes.

It is also wholly wrong that customers should be footing the Bill of this enforcement scheme. The vast majority, even by copyright holders’ estimates, do not infringe their copyrights, yet they will be paying for a quarter of this scheme. A small number will be priced off the Internet by even a small rise in broadband bills – Consumer Focus estimate perhaps 10,000 households.

BT also drew attention to the lack of a Privacy Impact Assessment for the scheme. Privacy concerns could scupper the acceptability of letter writing. Yet the engagement from the government and ICO on this issue has so far been less than acceptable.

ORG and other groups have been willing to accept the principle of letter writing, but this current consultation shows the weaknesses in the legislation that was rammed through in the dying hours of the last Parliament. Already the Act threatens to punish innocent people with additional, unwarranted costs and bars to clearing their name.

Please write to your MP, asking for repeal of the worst sections. Ask them to join the All Party Parliamentary Group and sign the EDM

 


Comments (5)

  1. Richard Sarson:
    May 29, 2010 at 05:57 PM

    Are All Party Groups the appropriate vehicle for a single-issue campaign? I think not. already there are too many APGs in the IT space: PITCOM and apCOMMS. Any new one reduces the impact of them all.

  2. cyberdoyle:
    May 29, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    Apart from the fact that this totally useless act will penalise the wrong people (by adding to the cost of their connection and also the ambulance chasing lawyers will scare many innocent people), and apart from the fact that public wifi is in danger, and apart from the fact that it is an added burden to an already throttled industry...
    ... the bill needs throwing out because it is a waste of time, they can rot stop filesharers.
    We told them so right at the start of the digitalbritain interim report, but they won't listen. The dark lord forced this bill through washup to protect a dying business model. Far better to put the vast resources being used to prop up a pathetic act to build a fairer, better copyright act and encourage the BPI to think out of the protective box that this legislation is giving them.

    Time to move on, not protect a cash cow for a select few. Mandy has gone, no need to be afraid of he who must be obeyed. Politicians have to get themselves up to speed on the issues and vote with their brains, not because some tart with a whip chases them out the bar into a vote.
    chris

  3. external usb cd burner:
    Feb 09, 2011 at 08:55 AM

    BT also drew attention to the lack of a Privacy Impact Assessment for the scheme. Privacy concerns could scupper the acceptability of letter writing. Yet the engagement from the government and ICO on this issue has so far been less than acceptable.

  4. iscsi chap authentication:
    Feb 09, 2011 at 08:59 AM

    The government is proposing two very dangerous ideas: firstly that ISPs customers should pay 25% of the costs of monitoring and sending letters.

  5. voip phone systems:
    Feb 22, 2011 at 04:44 PM

    Perhaps 10,000 households (according to a Consumer Focus estimate) will be priced off the Internet by even a small rise in broadband bills. This fact alone should convince reasonable people of the injustice of this levy increase. Internet access must be protected as a fundamental right of citizenship.



This thread has been closed from taking new comments.