Questions for Lord Mandelson
20th November 2009 11:50 | by Andrew Robinson
Having read the Digital Economy Bill, I have a few questions for Lord Mandelson.
Why should the public accept an unelected and twice disgraced politician being given the power to rewrite laws, when it’s abundantly clear that he doesn’t understand the issues?
How can the arbitrary target of a 70% reduction in file sharing be judged when no accurate measurements are in place, and no timescale has been set?
Why is 30% of the current level of file sharing considered acceptable? Surely if it's wrong, it needs to be punished?
Why is independent research on the benefits of file sharing being ignored in the Digital Economy Bill in favour of biased “industry estimates”?
What exactly is the ‘first tier tribunal’ referred to in the Digital Economy Bill? If that phrase does not mean ‘a court of law with a judge, jury and a presumption of innocence until proven guilty’, what is the justification for throwing out one of the major pillars of the British legal system?
The factsheet refers to “Educating consumers” on “the importance of
copyright and advice on how to secure their Internet connection” and
“society should benefit from the increased awareness of the importance
of copyright”. Isn’t it morally wrong and an abuse of power to favour a
pro-copyright political stance by mailing political propaganda to
Why should consumers not open their internet connection over wifi as a service to the community, and why should they not be treated as common carriers when they do so?
Why are libraries being given the right to 'lend' audio books digitally, but not the right to lend music and films digitally?
Why is file sharing good when libraries do it and bad when the public does it?
How will disconnecting people from the internet possibly help the bill's stated goal of 'securing the UK's position as one of the world's leading digital knowledge economies'?
Why did the text of the bill appear on a record industry owned website before it appeared on any government site?
The bill includes a provision for unappointed, unelected, monopoly collecting societies to "assume a mandate to collect fees on behalf of rights holders who have not specifically signed up to that society." Why should doing this be considered anything less than criminally defrauding the people these fees will be collected from and stealing copyright (in the true sense of claiming ownership, not the way it is misused as a synonym for infringement)?
Why does the government see file sharing as both so trivial that it can be dealt with by just sending a letter and simultaneously so serious that it warrants the imposition of a new £50,000 fine?
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, why does the bill not even mention the concept of 'fair use'?