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Every single MP who does nothing to stop the Digital Economy Bill should be defeated. They serve the BPI not you.

[Update – Thank you to the Redditors for promoting this – I love you too. Now help kill this bill :-)]

Defeat the Digital Economy Bill

Defeat the Digital Economy Bill

In 1605 Robert Catesby tried to destroy Parliamentary democracy in the United Kingdom. His plot was unmasked and the man employed to instigate it was caught in the cellars underneath the House of Commons on 5 November, his name was Guy Fawkes.

In 2010 new forces are trying again. Not anarchic or Islamic extremists, but people much closer to rungs of power.

They have no need for gunpowder. They have no need to arm themselves. They have a compliant Parliament that will allow them to pass a law that will effectively kill the internet and end Parliamentary accountability.

If the law as written does not achieve that goal, with the nod of a sufficiently gullible Minister, lobbyists can appoint someone else to rewrite it without resort to Parliament.

In this 21st Century destruction of Parliament Guy Fawkes is being played by Lord Peter Mandleson. The man dictating the death of the internet to the unelected “Business Secretary” is Richard Mollet, Lobbyist for the BPI and he just happens to be the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Labour Party in South West Surrey.

Forget issues such as net neutrality and free speech – this goes beyond any of those issues.

This plot is exposed, in the same way the original plot was, by his co-conspirators hand. This being the 21st Century, his plot is sent by email and the concerned citizens are the writers of the blog Boing-Boing. His dastardly deeds are exposed thus.

The email reveals the shear arrogance of lobbyists who feel that their job is done. He dismisses the concerns of the MI5, the Security Services as if they were a minor irrelevance.

The email reveals MI5 are concerned that if this bill passes more people will use cloaking software to hide their internet activity, which of course has national security issues. Of course this is not relevant to the BPI. After all, why should issues of National Security matter to them?

A poll that shows that of those between 18-34 70% will use such cloaking software is dismissed as probably MI5 funded.

This bit of the email is especially revealing

It is sadly ironic that the campaign for the Bill which has drawn support from Steven Garrett, the creative force behind the BBC series ”Spooks”, should find itself partially thwarted by their real-life equivalents.

The anti-piracy campaign led by Steven Garrett and heavily promoted by the BBC started before the bill was ever presented to Parliament. What on Earth is going on here?

Excuse me, did BBC licence payers pay for propaganda to support Government legislation promoted and drafted by industry lobbyists? How about that BBC charter and the requirement for impartiality?

Lobbyists should not be able to write legislation on behalf of an industry that they will then get to police and implement. Especially when that industry has shown time and time again, they can not be trusted.

MPs really need to understand that no-one can trust these industry lobbyists. No matter how big or small, no-one can trust them. The current distributors of content would rather spit in the face of new content deliverers, than assist them. Under this law they will be given legislative back up to do so.

Spotify tried a legal streaming service. It became popular. They got stabbed in the back by Warner.

Virgin Media adopted even before this law was passed the introduction of deep packet inspection. On the back of that, they had agreements with the music industry to launch Virgin Music Unlimited. A subscription service using watermarked but not DRM crippled music with unlimited downloads available on demand. Virgin invested £millions on the back of that deal. Then the music industry spat in the face of Virgin.

All the BPI cares about are the profits of content distributors and not the internet, the fact that the Government admitted that this will cost ISPs as much, if not more than the highly questionable losses suffered by the Industry is of no concern to them or the Government. The digital economy – be damned.

The BPI - working against you.

The BPI - working against you.

Richard Mollet reveals that the ISP’s have been beaten into submission. The terms by which this law will be implemented will be dictated to Internet Service Providers by Lobbyists acting as semi-official enforcers of Government legislation. Which? gets to informally contribute and OfCom the official watchdog is deemed an afterthought.

there is a tangible sense of ”settled will” about the other provisions in the Bill. It is hard to find anyone, including within the lSP community, who does not believe that the Initial Obligations – and the prospect of Technical Obligations – are coming into law. Meeting with ISPs, Sky and Virgin this week, the BPl, MPA and Alliance Against IP Theft made good progress in discussing some of the operational detail around the Code. Whilst nothing is being set down in stone at this stage, the broad parameters of how the Code might work are being agreed upon. The consumer group Which? is also informally contributing to our thoughts. At Ofcom’s request, we are meeting next week to discuss progress to date with them.

This bill is a disaster for the internet. I have made my arguments to why it should be rejected to Liberal Democrats and Conservatives.

Let me make it simple – no ISP is going to defend in Court an order to take down a site. It will not be commercially viable. The ISP will not wait for a Court Order, they will act on a letter. If the Digital Economy Bill is passed, all that will be needed to kill access to a site will be a strongly written letter from a Solicitor.

Individual coffee shops providing wireless access will be the first to go because they will be required to perform the legal functions of a full internet service provider.

Digital lockers, as implemented by Windows 7, Ubuntu and services like Dropbox will be the first to go. They are to the writers of this legislation as big a target, if not bigger than the peer to peer networks.

Then it will be the blogs for using “copyrighted pictures” without permission.

Access to individual accounts on myspace, facebook and other sites will just go.

Then Youtube accounts will go because they have a “substantial” level of copyright infringing material available. It was done before by the same people we are supposed to trust now.

Then any site or online service that the content industry wants killed without need to refer to a Court and if pushed to the Courts, they can just change the law, without reference to Parliament and try again.

Foreign sites, blog hosters and online locker services will just simply block UK users. Why would they want to get involved in fights with UK courts?

This bill can be killed if MPs do the job that they are elected to do. This is the biggest worry for Richard Mollet, he fears, that if MPs debate the bill it will die. Therefore their tactic is to stop the MPs elected to serve their Constituents debating the bill.

As for the House of Commons – which will be sent the BilI next week there is a strange sense of detachment. MPs with whom we spoke back in Autumn are aIready resigned to the fact that they will have minimum input into the provisions from this point on, given the lack of time for detailed scrutiny. One leading backbencher has told us that there is ”little point in meeting, since the Bill will be determined at wash-up”. That said, John Whittingdale – an inveterate ”timing sceptic” (i .e. he’s for the Bill but doesn’t think it will get through in time) has said this week that he still thinks it could be lost if enough MPs protest at not having the opportunity to scrutinise it. Whilst true in constitutional theory terms, the hard politics Of the situation makes it seem unlikely. And inveterate Opponents like Derek Wyatt and Tom Watson continue to blog and meet with critical comments, but there is not the sense of a groundswell of massive opposition to the Bill. Come the week of Second Reading (29th March) the main political focus is likely to be on the Finance Bill – the Budget having been announced on the 24th.

The way to kill the bill has therefore been made clear. Every person concerned by this bill has to demand that Members of Parliament do the job that they were elected to do. Parliament has a moral duty to properly debate and analyse the legislation laid before it. Members of Parliament that fail to do that are failing to do their job. Those Members of Parliament, regardless of party, need to be aware of the consequences of their failure to do their job by their soon to be voters.

Make it clear that you will not vote for any MP that does nothing to stop this Government rail-roading through this legislation.

After the election, whoever is in Government will have five years to decide on a bill that can protect content providers, while ensuring that Britain is not left behind on the internet. This rushed, authoritarian, corrupt bill has no place on the statute books.

On the back of the expenses sleaze – do they really want to be seen as an MP who helped to rush through lobbyist backed and written legislation?

Any MP that does nothing to stop the Government curtailing debate on this Bill is worthless as a Member of Parliament. They need to be defeated. In this economy jobs come first and those MPs that fail to do their jobs will be exposed as a job killer – bought and paid for by fat cat lobbyists.

If MPs believe that there is no time to debate this bill then Parliament has no right to pass it.

  1. Lewis Sutton
    March 17, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    The idea of Robert Catesby is a good one, but alas he was mere anti Protestant catholic terrorist, can we not romanticise and use him as an anti-establishment representative?

  2. luca brasi
    March 29, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    “If MPs believe that there is no time to debate this bill then Parliament has no right to pass it.”

    They took their cue from Obama’s playbook. How’s it feel?

  3. Ellie
    March 30, 2010 at 8:41 am

    This is a very bigbpiecebof biased writing. If you are going to write about something which could effect the culture of Britain could you also look at the positives this bill will bring. How do you help musical artists who are making music but aren’t a live outfit. Where would they get money to carry on making music. The music industry might not be perfect but at least it allows artists to at least have value for the things they create. Surely if you wrote a piece for a magazine you would wish to be compensated with the relevant amount of money.
    We need to look at both sides of this arguement.
    Do you buy music?

  1. March 17, 2010 at 9:22 pm
  2. April 20, 2010 at 4:20 pm

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