I have been getting gradually more and more angry about the Digital Economy Bill that the UK government are going to try and pass in the next few months. I have been moved so much that I have used writetothem.com
to write to Angela Smith my local MP.
Dear Angela Smith,
Could you please let me know you position on the proposed Digital Economy Bill that was mentioned in the Queen’s speech.
I am extremely concerned that the interested of certain industries are being supported over the interests of the citizens of the UK.
In addition to stifling a communication tool that has the potential to increase community and political engagement, the DEB seems to be attacking democracy itself.
That the bill allows a person’s internet connection to be removed on the suspicion of wrong doing, with no proof required and no right to recourse or hearing in a court of law, runs counter to the long held British tenet of ‘innocent until proven guilty’.
In addition to this, the expected clause allowing a Minister to make changes to the terms of the Bill after it has been passed, without further discussion or debate by accountable and electable representatives is abhorrent.
I hope that you will tell me that you will be voting against this bill when it comes before the House of Commons. I would be pleased if you can tell me that you will speak out publically against it before then.
I will post her response both here and on openrightsgroup.org
UPDATE: I have had a response from Angela Smith MP
Ms Smith has provided a stock cover letter and a canned response from Stephen Timms. Although she has failed to answer my question and told me what her position on the Bill is, there is an obvious implied answer of ‘My position is whatever my party say it should be’.
A feel particularly patronised by Ms Smith’s offer to ‘keep me updated on the progress of this Bill’.
Although it probably futile, I will be replying to Ms Smith asking her clarify some specific points like:
- why the current copyright legislation cannot be used to take action against copyright thieves?
- why the record and film industries deserve special protection to cope with a change in their market conditions, particularly one that has been predicted for around 10 years?
- whether she believes that initiatives put in place to reduce online copyright infringement will have any impact and how any impact will be accurately measured.
- why the interests of the content distribution industries are important enough to warrant the reversal of the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ principle that our legal system is based on?
I think I might also ask whether she has thought about this bill and its impact on her constituents at all or if she really does intend to simply blindly vote as she is instructed.