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

I just emailed my MP the following letter:

Dear David Lepper,

I would just like to thank you for signing Auston Mitchell’s Early Day
Motion 1155 Photography In Public Areas. I have been increasingly
concerned with reports of police action against innocent photographers,
including most recently a man assaulted by several security guards in
Stoke (http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyaslarry/2420960125/). I’m sure
you appreciate Brighton’s reputation as an artistic city and your
support for this motion shows your continued support for the
photography community in Brighton.

Yours sincerely,
David Pashley

If your MP hasn’t signed this EDM, I recommend you contact them to urge them
to sign it and if they have, contact them again to thank them.

Breaking news on BBC New24. Just confirmed in the last few minutes.
Very few details…. Last night, Tony Blair converted to Catholism

Why is this news? Who cares? Why is the BBC treating this like it’s
the biggest news item of the year? Why have they rolled out Anne
Widdecomme to do a phone interview? His wife is a catholic, his children
are catholic, it’s been on the cards for a while. He isn’t in power any
more. It remains to be seen if he has any relevance any more. So why
does it matter what denomination he is.

I can’t believe in this day and age that OPSI (formerly HMSO) still don’t have
copies of UK acts of parliament before 1988 online. According to their

Q. Why do you only display legislation back to

A. The website was launched in 1996. Initially, legislation was only
available from that year. In 2000 we took the decision to include older
legislation for which we had electronic files. These files only dated
back to 1988. Prior to this, legislation is only available in its
original print format.

I don’t think it’s acceptable to say “Oh it’s a bit of work to make them
available.” If Project Gutenberg
can make 17,000 out of copyright works available, I fail to see why the
government, who have resources at their disposal, can’t make the text of
approximately 3000 acts from the last 100 years available. This makes
several key acts which govern us today unavailable to the UK public,
including the Telecommunications Act 1984, Sale of Goods Act 1979,
Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and Unfair Contract Terms Act

On a similar note, they have only just started making PDF files
avilable for download (since October 2005). They don’t appear to be
planning on making existing documents available in PDF. Again, I don’t
think it would be too hard to make all their content availble in
alternative formats.


“But there will be huge civil liberties questions because you will have
to accept that people will see you walking round semi-naked.”

Mr Stringer said there were various techniques for protecting people’s

“We can solve the modesty issue by overlaying the body with graphics
except for the area which causes concern.

“The computer can also be set only to show those people who are carrying
something suspicious.”