Digital Economy Bill

How to spot an extremist political party

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 Today, the BBC published a survey on worldwide public attitudes to the internet. The results are a loud and clear wake up call to political parties that thought they were safely in the middle of the road.

75% of UK adults agree, or strongly agree with the statement "Access to the internet should be a fundamental right of all people." To put this into some perspective, that's a wording that we, the Pirate Party UK, thought was too extreme to put in our manifesto. All the major political parties in the UK are collaborating on a Digital Economy Bill that will give copyright holders an unprecedented new power of collective punishment, a power to cut off people's internet connection. They will be able to do this to you even if you can prove that that you are innocent of any copyright infringement, and prove that somebody else is responsible.

Election Campaign 2010 -- Putting to Sea

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As some of you will already be aware, on the 7th of March the NEC appointed me Deputy Campaigns Officer.  I'm going to be responsible for running the Pirate Party's campaign for the upcoming General Election, working closely with the Campaigns Officer, Philip Hunt, and the rest of the NEC.

I can't tell you exactly what our Grand Strategy is going to be -- I've had less than a day to work on it so far! -- but I will give you an overview of what we're doing at the moment and how you can help.

Lib Dems make the Digital Economy Bill even worse

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The government's Digital Economy Bill has just got even worse:

Imagine that, in the Summer of last year, you had been following the MP's expenses scandal and heard that The Telegraph was publishing a rather less redacted version that MP's were prepared to give us. Interested, you navigated your way to only to find it was not responding. After some searching around and asking friends you discover that the website has been blocked by most major UK ISP's. It seems a junior official in Parliament had asked them to block The Telegraph for copyright violation.

The UK's DMCA; Clause 17 falls, but at what cost?

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During another intense session in the House of Lords this afternoon a vote was finally held on the controversial Clause 17 of the UK's Digital Economy Bill. This clause would have allowed the Secretary of State to amend the UK's copyright law with a lot less oversight from parliament than usual. The government did not hide the fact that this provision would be used to clamp down on unlicensed file-sharers in various ways as the industry demanded. However, there was a bright side; the clause would have permitted Lord Mandelson (or more likely his successor) to do as he promisedback in October and relax the UK's copyright law by bringing in the 'fair use' exemptions it so desperately needs.

The Digital Economy Bill will kill wifi hotspots

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The government have written an explanatory document stating how the Digital Economy Bill will work for libraries, universities and wifi hotspots. According to Lilian Edwards, who is professor of internet law at Sheffield University, the Bill is likely to kill wifi hotspots in places like pubs, cafes, and libraries:

The digital economy versus the Digital Economy Bill

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I was at an Open Rights Group event in Edinburgh yesterday, about lobbying MPs regarding the DE Bill. One of the attendees, Hugh Hancock, pointed out that he will likely be harmed by the DE Bill, even though he is a creative person who is part of the digital economy, one of the very group of people this bill is ostensibly intended to help. (Of course, we all know that the DE is really there to protect the content distribution industry, not creative people).

Unconferences on fighting the Digital Economy Bill

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The Open Rights Group is holding a series of meet ups in Manchester, London, Edinburgh and Sheffield to learn more about how to effectively lobby your MP on digital rights matters, with current especial reference of course to the DEB, graduated response, disonnection etc.

This is a great and timely initiative and if you have any interest in learning how to actually participate in democracy and make your voice count, come along!! It's free!

Robinson on the Digital Economy Bill

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 Pirate leader Andrew Robinson was interviewed by Russia Today about the Digital Economy Bill

The real problem with clause 17

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There has been much speculation around clause 17 of the Digital Economy Bill, the part that would give the unelected Lord Mandelson powers to rewrite copyright law whenever he chooses, grant powers to others at a whim, or impose duties or fines on anyone who offends him.

The Financial Times are hinting that the government may back down on clause 17, and some commentators are referring to it as a "legislative sacrificial goat" that the government will agree to drop in return for the other parties backing the other controversial (to put it mildly) proposals in the bill, such as ending the legal right to be considered innocencent until proven guilty, and punishing people who are provably innocent for the actions of others who share their wifi connections with or even without their permission.

Digital Economy Bill will cost you £25 a year

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Are you a UK broadband subscriber? If you are, the government's Digital Economy Bill will cost you £25 a year:

Proposals to suspend the internet connections of those who repeatedly share music and films online will leave consumers with a bill for £500 million, ministers have admitted.