Digital Economy Bill

The Digital Economy Bill is slated to receive it's second reading on Tuesday 6 April, the day the government plans to call for election. This timing will enable it to go into a 'wash up', a process by which bills are approved on the action of the whips alone without scrutiny by MPs. Controversial parts of the bill could be rushed through with as little as 90 minutes of debate. This is particularly disturbing because of the bill's effect on civil liberties.

The bill's 'three-strikes' provision would allow an entire family to be disconnected because a teenager downloaded songs or videos in violation of copyright, without due process in the courts. The same provision may make it difficult for internet cafes, hotels, or universities to allow internet access. The bill also could make it difficult to offer any website that stores material for users, since in theory the stored material may violate copyright. Provisions of the bill may also be used to shut-down public interest websites such as WikiLeaks (which publishes leaked, and hence copyrighted, work).

A detailed description of how your service could be cut off is given by Digital Wrong. An assessment of the civil rights implications is given by Liberty. An article summarizing the bill appears in The Guardian. Organizations campaigning against the bill include Open Rights Group and 38 Degrees. The latter link takes you to a web application that will allow you to send an e-mail to your MP in only a few minutes.

Well done publicising this. Disconnection need not even require actual copyright violation --- just an accusation from the copyright owner.

> ... a teenager downloaded songs or videos ...

And we're demonising teenagers because? Surely it's "...because one member downloaded..." --- assuming that the bill doesn't specifically distinguish downloaders by age.
This sounds horrible... Sounds like the UK needs something like the DMCA, which protects websites from material uploaded by users.

@Ian: I think you are misreading the intent of the teenager example. The teenager example is more sympathetic.
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