Digital Economy Bill explained and opposed

The UK digital economy bill  that was passed by the House of Lords last week has led a number of companies to voice their concerns through protest and petition. The biggest concerns are:

  • The big influence of the media companies in pointing out presumed infringers
  • The concept that a ‘guilty verdict’ is presumed and those accused can only appeal afterwards
  • The fact that no proper court procedures are followed
  • The disconnection to the internet of those whose network was used for the alleged infringement

Commentator David Campbell wrote an article about the legislation and the consequences here. He also pointed to this video that outlines these major issues surrounding the legislation. In the meantime a site called The liberal conspiracy  has started a campaign against the bill as well and has drawn analogies to the analogue world for the main points of contention.

Take point 1. OFCOM regulation. It may be the case that it won’t go as far as the law wording would seemingly allow (it is fairly vague, even after scouring the original Communications Act 2003)…but regulating blogs, youtube videos, podcasts isn’t the same as regulating the content that is broadcast on TV or through the radio, it’s like a guy with a clipboard being present with you down the pub to ensure that no-one strays in to too risque a territory.

Then there’s point 3. Would you appreciate being put under house arrest not because of any court determined guilt, but because of someone making accusations of copyright infringement against you for something that may or may not have occurred in your property at the time? Is it even remotely justified to put you under house arrest, to stop you from going to the library, to work, or to socialise with your friends because of those accusations alone?

Or how about point 4…how would you feel if the police were stopping you from accessing your local community centre because a single individual or organisation had threatened the local council in such a way that it is too much for the council to risk the financial cost of allowing it to continue functioning for the community? Imagine arriving at your local pub only to find it inaccessible to you, even though anyone that is visiting from another town can use it freely; not for anything that you or your town have necessarily done, but because of the implications made by an individual in a completely unscrutinized manner?

Check out the video for a good introduction to the bill and its consequences.

Marco | Editor

Editor at large and founder of a bunch of stockphoto businesses