I am rather concerned by the events in the Lords yesterday of the passing of third reading of the Digital Economy Bill. Further I am concerned that as we approach the end of this session this complex issue is going to pass unto the statute books without proper scrutiny, consultation or consideration when it returns to the commons.
I spent a lot of the end of last week lobbying Scottish members of my party who were in Birmingham to first get this issue into our emergency motion slot and then to take action. There was even a letter from 25 of our PPCs and many more have since added their support urging our peers to go further with their amendment to secure civil liberties as well as copyright law in the process. In the end our Freedom, Internet and Creativity motion passed with only one representative against.
To summarise my main concerns of the impact it will have :
* This bill, if it becomes law will allow Websites to be blocked by ISPs, search engines and others at the request of "rights owners", without any court involvement or appeals process.. websites will just disappear from view, without warning or notification or even any evidence of wrongdoing.
* This bill, if it becomes law will allow record companies to force ISPs to disconnect users without court involvement, appeals or proof.
* This bill will allow media giants to "steal" copyright property (images, software, music) wholesale by "mistakenly" assuming they are orphaned works.
This bill will add huge costs to every aspect of the Internet in the UK, from additional legal and technical costs, to hampering businesses and harming free speech and competition.
I know that time is running out but I would urge you to prevent this draconian bill being pushed through the house without debate or proper review in the final rush to pass bills before the House rises. This is one matter that by its complexity needs proper examination rather than the somewhat knee-jerk reactionary bill that Lord Mandleson has brought forward.
Yours faithfullyStephen Glenn
I have just recieved Michael's repsonse which I will also publish in full.