I have just sent the following email to my MP, David Lepper MP, outlining my concerns about the Digital Economy Bill. I urge you to write to your MP with a similar letter.
From: David Pashley <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: David Lepper Cc: Bcc: Subject: Digital Economy Bill Reply-To: Dear Mr Lepper, I'm writing to you so express my concern at the Digital Economy Bill which is currently working its way through the House of Commons. I believe that the bill as it stands will have a negative effect on the digital economy that the UK and in particular Brighton have worked so hard to foster. Section 4-17 deals with disconnecting people reported as infringing copyright. As it stands, this section will result in the possibility that my internet connection could be disconnected as a result of the actions of my flatmate. My freelance web development business is inherently linked to my access of the Internet. I currently allow my landlady to share my internet access with her holiday flat above me. I will have to stop this arrangement for fear of a tourist's actions jeopardising my business. This section will also result in the many pubs and cafes, much favoured by Brighton's freelancers, from removing their free wifi. I have often used my local pub's wifi when I needed a change of scenery. I know a great many freelancers use Cafe Delice in the North Laine as a place to meet other freelancers and discuss projects while drinking coffee and working. Section 18 deals with ISPs being required to prevent access to sites hosting copyrighted material. The ISPs can insist on a court injunction forcing them to prevent access. Unfortunately, a great many ISPs will not want to deal with the costs of any court proceedings and will just block the site in question. A similar law in the Unitied States, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) has been abused time and time again by spurious copyright claims to silence critics or embarrassments. A recent case is Microsoft shutting down the entire Cryptome.org website because they were embarrassed by a document they had hosted. There are many more examples of abuse at http://www.chillingeffects.org/ A concern is that there's no requirement for the accuser to prove infringement has occured, nor is there a valid defense that a user has done everything possible to prevent infringement. There are several ways to reduce copyright infringement of music and movies without introducing new legislation. The promotion of legal services like iTunes and spotify, easier access to legal media, like Digital Rights Management free music. Many of the record labels and movie studios are failing to promote competing legal services which many people would use if they were aware of them. A fairer alternative to disconnection is a fine through the courts. You can find further information on the effects of the Digital Economy Bill at http://www.openrightsgroup.org/ and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8544935.stm The bill has currently passed the House of Lords and its first reading in the Commons. There is a danger that without MPs demanding to scrutinise this bill, this damaging piece of legislation will be rushed through Parliament before the general election. I ask you to demand your right to debate this bill and to amend the bill to remove sections 4-18. I would also appreciate a response to this email. If you would like to discuss the issues I've raised further, I can be contacted on 01273 xxxxxx or 07966 xxx xxx or via email at this address. Thank you for your time. -- David Pashley email@example.com