tigerfort: (Default)
[personal profile] tigerfort
In case anyone has missed the BBC's round-the-clock coverage of absolutely no articles at all, or the slightly better information in the papers (being this 'we support big media' piece in the Torygraph and this slightly better one in the Gruaniad), our beloved leaders have published a "Digital Economy Bill" as part of this year's legislative program.

The proposed law scares me, and not just me. It scares everyone who actually has an interest in constructing (rather than preventing) some kind of useful digital economy; it scares every serious creative worker who knows anything about the subject (I imagine the record companies will wheel out the usual collection of hugely rich tools who know nothing about computing to support the insanity, but...); if you know about it and it doesn't scare you, then it should. Why? I think I'll let Cory Doctorow at Boingboing express some of the problems:

It consists almost entirely of penalties for people who do things that upset the entertainment industry (including the "three-strikes" rule that allows your entire family to be cut off from the net if anyone who lives in your house is accused of copyright infringement, without proof or evidence or trial), as well as a plan to beat the hell out of the video-game industry with a new, even dumber rating system

In addition to which,
These changes will give the Secretary of State (Mandelson -- or his successor in the next government) the power to make "secondary legislation" (legislation that is passed without debate) - including creating new remedies for online infringements, the ability to "confer rights" for the purposes of protecting rightsholders and also the authority to impose such duties, powers or functions on any person as may be specified in connection with facilitating online infringement.

There's a good deal of additional discussion elsewhere (see, for example, Charlie Stross, Talk-Talk's understandably unhappy response to a proposed law requiring them to spend vast amounts of money spying on their customers for the benefit of another industry, and the thoughts of the Open Rights Group. [ETA: I'm pleased to see that at least one UK political party appear to have their communal head screwed on correctly about this; can't say I'm surprised which of the three main parties it is, either....]

Join the ORG, write to your MP, express to someone somewhere what a really bad idea this is. Either that, or move to Sweden.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-11-22 01:15 am (UTC)
alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)
From: [personal profile] alitalf
Well done for drawing people's attention. I had noticed, but lacked the energy to post.

There is something else about it that I think is happening: there will be an organisation that gets to collect copyright fees and fines on behalf of copyright holders who are not members - and presumably they don't actually receive any of this unless they pay their fees to join..?

(no subject)

Date: 2009-11-21 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kitsunekaboom.livejournal.com
I read this and couldn't get over the sheer lunacy of it. It's just nuts.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-11-22 07:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] segh.livejournal.com
Secondary legislation is one of the great evils of our time, not only in this area. It's profoundly anti-democratic.
But I wouldn't worry about the Queen's speech, it's not designed to introduce legislation, it's just political posturing.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-11-22 02:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tigerfort.livejournal.com
Don't count on it; Mandy is very keen to push this hard, the big media groups are all enthusing, and the Tories seem quite positive about it (after all, they expect to get to play with it after the election). Most of the QS is posturing, yes, but there'll be a few things that get through one way or another, and this is a worryingly plausible candidate.

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