Leveson and Blogs: Act now!

Anyone living in the UK will be aware of the active debate over Leveson and freedom of the press, but few will be aware of the alarming way in which this applies to blogs and web publishing.  The Open Rights Group is on the case:
Lord Leveson’s regulations are being applied to UK websites – in ways that could catch more or less anyone who publishes a blog. Ordinary bloggers could be threatened with exemplary damages and costs. If this happens, small website publishers will face terrible risks, or burdensome regulation – and many may simply stop publishing.
We have until Monday to stop this happening.Lord Leveson said he wanted to regulate print media. He proposed that judges  be allowed to award exemplary damages and full costs against unregulated publishers. These are stringent and controversial measures, but he only envisaged them applying to large and powerful publishers. Not websites, unless they belonged to print publishers.
Last weekend, the proposals were agreed in a rush, without public consultation, and with no attention to the detail.
Outrageously, they have given the Lords until Monday to fix their mistakes.The result is that they apply to any size of web publisher – if there’s more than one author, the content is edited and there’s a business involved, then you must join a self regulator.
Most blogs like this aren’t powerful publishing houses. Even ORGZine would need to be regulated, or face punitive measures if it ended up in court.
The threat of websites being regulated like this was never the purpose of Lord Leveson’s recommendations. Websites weren’t involved in phone hacking. There is no evidence that they need to be forced into self-regulation like this.
We need you to email Nick Clegg, Harriet Harman, and David Cameron to ask them to back off and leave the Internet out of Leveson.
Open Rights Group has a web page that will let you express your opinion to the relevant parties in less than a minute it.  Do it now!

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The chance of any change as a result of emailing a member of the cabinet seems extremely small. Might it not be more effective to try to make members of the House of Lords aware of the issues?

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