Urgent: Appeal Campaign Title here about 10 words here

Mar 30th, 2010

Digital Economy Bill – Help replying

By JohnnyChatterton

Over the last week over 18,000 of us  have written to their MPs urging the Government not to rush the bill into law without a democratic debate.

There have been so many emails we can’t reply to them all so please post any replies you get from your MP here so other 38 Degrees members can see them, comment and help you reply.

Most common questions
We asked Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group, to list put together some responses to the most common points MPs are raising. Here they are:

Only persistent offenders will be disconnected
Firstly, this is expected to mean after 50 infringements, although the Bill does not say. The retail value of a song can now be as low as 35p on emusic – so the retail value of the infringements needed to qualify for disconnection could be less than £18.

Furthermore, not only an infringer, but their family, would be disconnected. They would almost certainly be innocent.

There will be lots of tests to make sure this is appropriate
Disconnection is never appropriate, ever. Disconnection – even for a repeat offender – is a serious infringement of their ability to exercise freedom of expression and association and their right to work and an education.

Constraining these implies a very serious, for instance, imprisonable offence. Yet copyright infringement remains a civil offence, with lower standards of evidence, and with civil punishments, that is, fines.

Nobody has explained at any point why a civil wrong should be punished, without the need for a trial, by a punishment as intrusive as disconnection

People can just move to another Internet Service Provider (ISP)
Such points are governed by as yet unwritten codes. There is nothing in the Bill to suggest this.

There will be a full debate before any of this happens, in the next Parliament
The measures will be introduced by Statutory Instrument. Such debates are short, limited, and do not require line by line scrutiny. MPs will be lucky if the SIs will be amendable. They certainly do not invoke national democratic debate and press attention. That debate is needed before introducing a measure like this.

What did your MP reply? Let us know here and crowdsource help replying.

If they didn’t, or you haven’t written to your MP opposing rushing the DEB into law just click here to write to your MP now.

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