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The Digital Economy Bill – What’s it all about? March 18, 2010

Posted by kewroad in anti-piracy, government, internet, politics.
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Since the announcement of the Digital Economy Bill in last year’s Queen’s speech this pending bit of legislation has received a lot of attention and as it moves from the Lords to the Commons this week the debate around this continues to intensify. The question is what is it all about and why is there so much fuss surrounding it?

The gist of the whole thing is that it aims to reduce internet abuse with a particular focus on copyright infringement with measures such as cutting off persistent offender’s internet connections. The act will also increase the criminal liability level associated with “making or dealing with infringing articles” and “making, dealing with or using illicit recordings” to a maximum of £50,000.

ISPs will also have to pay closer attention to their users if the bill goes ahead as failure to report suspicious activity will result in fines of up to £250,000. It also proposes new powers for the government to control the use of the UK domain name space and has the potential to give Peter Mandelson unlimited power to enforce copyright by bringing into law any measure relating to file-sharing on the Internet, without the consent of Parliament.

TalkTalk have launched a mock music video to voice their opposition to the bill and BBC Panorama has done a report on the bill and its potential impact, but many felt that is focussed too much on the music industry and did not address human rights issues or the way it would impact the future of society.

With the general opinion being that this bill will be pushed through before the general election it looks like we will all have firsthand experience of this new legislation sooner rather than later so let’s hope they work out all the bugs before we get cut off from the internet for watching the wrong video on YouTube!

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The Pirates are coming…and this time they’re legitimate! August 12, 2009

Posted by andysephton in Uncategorized.
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August has seen the launch of a new political party here in the UK. The Pirate Party (http://www.pirateparty.org.uk/) is built on the premise that the law needs to change to meet the needs of the 21st century. They aim to reform copyright and patent law, end  ”excessive” surveillance and ensure that everyone has “real” freedom of speech,

Already established in Germany and Sweden, the party is actively campaigning for the legalisation of “non-commercial file sharing” and to reduce the length of copyrights. With the area of digital piracy receiving increased attention in the media, a political party that has stated that the “government plans to brand seven million British file sharers as criminals” could stimulate some interesting political debates.

As a concept I can see where this party is coming from but in practical terms is a three point manifesto enough to base a political party on? With seven million file sharers in the UK can we really say they are all innocent?

So as the Pirate Party sets sail and appeals for people to join them on their maiden voyage, I for one will not be climbing aboard just yet. This is a definite case of time will tell but I will certainly be watching their progress over the coming months…