After the turmoil of the General Elections of 2010, it seems that things are finally returning to a reasonable normality. But what about the Digital Economy Act that was rushed through with the UK’s last government? Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group (ORG) explains:

You may have read in the last few days that the Lib Dems have committed to removing the dangerous parts of the Digital Economy Act, while Jeremy Hunt, as the Conservative minister responsible, has said that he won’t.

And you may have seen yesterday that Julian Huppert, the new Lib Dem MP for Cambridge, has started a ‘Early Day Motion’ to get MPs from all parties to publicly call for repeal:

That this House believes that sections nine to 18 of the Digital Economy Act 2010 should not have been rushed through in the dying days of the last Parliament; further believes that these sections have large repercussions for consumers, civil liberties, freedom of information and access to the internet; and calls on the Government to introduce early legislation to repeal those provisions.

Meanwhile, Eric Joyce is organising an All Parliamentary Group – that is, a cross-party organisation to try to deal with the Bill.

Yesterday, ORG and other opponents of the Digital Economy Act submitted responses to the Cost consultation for the first part of the provisions. These provisions allow for copyright holders to send letters to people who may be infringing their copyright licenses, through a scheme run by Ofcom.

The government is proposing two very dangerous ideas: firstly that ISPs customers should pay 25% of the costs of monitoring and sending letters.

Secondly, the government is asking whether people appealing against incorrect notifications should pay an advance fee before being allowed to appeal.

We firmly reject these notions. Potentially vast numbers of letters will be sent out to customers, allowing for very frequent errors, even at a low level of inaccuracy. We know that ISPs do not currently keep particularly accurate time stamp records. So it is vital that people who are accused are able to make early corrections of these mistakes.

It is also wholly wrong that customers should be footing the Bill of this enforcement scheme. The vast majority, even by copyright holders’ estimates, do not infringe their copyrights, yet they will be paying for a quarter of this scheme. A small number will be priced off the Internet by even a small rise in broadband bills – Consumer Focus estimate perhaps 10,000 households.

BT also drew attention to the lack of a Privacy Impact Assessment for the scheme. Privacy concerns could scupper the acceptability of letter writing. Yet the engagement from the government and ICO on this issue has so far been less than acceptable.

ORG and other groups have been willing to accept the principle of letter writing, but this current consultation shows the weaknesses in the legislation that was rammed through in the dying hours of the last Parliament. Already the Act threatens to punish innocent people with additional, unwarranted costs and bars to clearing their name.

Please write to your MP, asking for repeal of the worst sections. Ask them to join the All Parliamentary Group and sign the EDM.

The original text quoted above appeared at http://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2010/the-future-of-the-digital-economy-act-is-in-your-hands and is released under by-cc share-alike license.

Quick update:

Ofcom has released a Terms of Reference describing (very briefly) its new obligations in regards to alleged copyright infringement under the Digital Economy Act of 2010, and what its next steps are towards enforcing these obligations. See http://www.ofcom.org.uk/telecoms/copyright/tor/.

This is how many people are left discussing the #debill on TwitpicJust a quick update:

The Digital Economy Bill Act of 2010 is now available for download viewing at http://www.england-legislation.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts2010/pdf/ukpga_20100024_en.pdf.

For additional information about the DEBill, links found on your right will continuously be updated.

Whilst making sure this blog was being picked up by Google, I was informed of the following:

Indeed.

Who has voted YES?

April 8, 2010

This is a list of MPs that have voted in favour to the question “That the Bill be now read the Third time”, which caused a division.

There were a total of 189 Ayes and 47 Noes, resulting in “Bill read the Third time and passed, with amendments”. It thereby concluded the House proceedings for the Bill, and was awaiting Royal Assent (granted on April 8th 2010).

The vote distribution was as following:

Google Chart

Conservative

Name Contact Website
Adam Afriyie Contact Website
Mr Edward Vaizey Contact Website
Mr Jeremy Hunt Contact Website
Mr John Hayes Contact

Labour

Name Contact Website
Alan Keen Contact Website
Albert Owen Contact Website
Alison Seabeck Contact Website
Andrew Mackinlay Contact Website
Andrew Miller Contact Website
Angela Eagle Contact Website
Ann Coffey Contact Website
Ann Keen Contact Website
Ann McKechin Contact Website
Barbara Follett Contact Website
Barry Gardiner Contact Website
Ben Chapman Contact Website
Bridget Prentice Contact Website
Chris Bryant Contact Website
Chris Mole Contact Website
Read the rest of this entry »

Who voted NO?

April 8, 2010

This is a list of MPs that have voted against the question “That the Bill be now read the Third time”, which caused a division.

There were a total of 189 Ayes and 47 Noes, resulting in “Bill read the Third time and passed, with amendments”. It thereby concluded the House proceedings for the Bill, and was awaiting Royal Assent (granted on April 8th 2010).

The vote distribution was as following:

Google Chart

Conservative

Name Contact Website
Mr Christopher Chope Contact Website
Mr David Amess Contact Website
Mr Michael Fallon Contact Website
Mr William Cash Contact Website
Rt Hon David Davis Contact

Democratic Unionist Party

Name Contact Website
Rt Hon Ian Paisley

Independent

Name Contact Website
Dai Davies Contact Website

Labour

Name Contact Website
Alan Simpson Contact Website
Colin Burgon Contact Website
Colin Challen Contact
Dr Nick Palmer Contact Website
Eric Joyce Contact Website
Jeremy Corbyn Contact Website
Kate Hoey Contact Website
Lynne Jones Contact Website
Mark Lazarowicz Contact Website
Mr Andrew Dismore Contact Website
Mr Andy Love Contact Website
Mr Andy Reed Website Website
Mr Austin Mitchell Contact Website
Read the rest of this entry »