UK Digital Economy Bill As Bad As Expected; Digital Britain Minister Flat Out Lies About ISP Support
from the nice-try dept
Just as the leaks predicted, the UK government has offered up its Digital Economy Bill, which includes massive changes to copyright law, including the power of the government to effectively change the law at will with little to no oversight. Basically, it would let the Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, change copyright law through secondary legislation, which requires no Parliamentary approval. As people are noting, Mandelson has had to resign from elected positions twice in the past in disgrace, and is now in an unelected position. And he’s the guy who gets to change copyright law at will? That does not seem right. On top of that, the bill doesn’t even specify “three” strikes for users. Instead, it requires ISPs to notify users with warnings — and to notify copyright holders that they did notify users — and if file sharing is not reduced by 70% in a year (with no indication of how this is measured), then the government will tell ISPs to start kicking people off the internet.
Furthermore, Minister for Digital Britain Stephen Timms, who introduced the new bill, claimed that 99% of ISPs are “broadly supportive” of the bill. That’s funny because BT and TalkTalk — two of the largest ISPs in the UK — have loudly complained about the plans (with TalkTalk threatening to sue, and BT saying that this solution is “not the way forward”) and the ISP Association, which represents ISPs in the UK has loudly slammed the bill as unworkable and backwards looking:
“ISPA members are extremely concerned that the bill, far from strengthening the nation’s communications infrastructure, will penalise the success of the internet industry and undermine the backbone of the digital economy,” the industry group said.
Nicholas Lansman, ISPA’s general secretary, said in the statement that the government’s proposals were “being fast-tracked… and will do little to address the underlying problem”.
“Rather than focusing blindly on enforcement, the government should be asking rights holders to reform the licensing framework so that legal content can be distributed online to consumers in a way that they are clearly demanding,” Lansman said.
So, where exactly are the 99% who are supportive of the bill? Or is that RIAA/IFPI/BPI math?