Letter to my MP regarding the Digital Economy Bill

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.

Open Rights Group’s guide to writing to your MP

From: David Pashley <david@davidpashley.com>
To: David Lepper
Subject: Digital Economy Bill

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

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

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