Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Letter to my MP


The reason of this email is to point out to you the importance of the impact of the Digital Economy Bill.

Today, you will be at the Parliament for the Oral Questions at 3pm, followed by the second reading of the this bill.

I would like you to consider the importance of this legislation in the light of my remarks and articles I am sending you to preserve the right balance between Copyright and free speech and the right to access to internet.

The 'Three Strikes' proposal cannot be operative as it is unpractical:

- Different users accessing from the same computer or same network in the community are exposed to punishement for an act allegedly committed by one individual. This creates a collective liability.

- IP snooping: someone could easily hack the IP address of an internet access user to download infringing materials,

- Computers can be infected by malicious software, spyware or become a member of a bootnet attack.

- it is not realistic to expect every user to be able to adequately secure its network access while this is not offered as a default setting. Therefore, it becomes easy for anyone to hack into private networks for illegal downloads.

This goes against the UK and EU E-commerce Regulations. See Professor Liliane Edwards reaction after a pub was fined £8K for an infringing download from the open Wifi hotspot.

- The notice letters have a good chance of ending up in the spam box and legitimately being ignored by account holders who won't be able to verify the authenticity of the warning. Remember many networks are accessed by several users (children, adults, friends, au-pairs, etc...) and many account holders are not tech-savvy.

- In our lives today, internet access is not a luxury anymore. Children need access for their study and this is the way it should go. Digital technologies are a great booster of knowledge and education. Workers need internet access. Consumers need internet access. Citizens need digital access and personal democracy. Promoting transparency and participation need to be the priority.
Instead, the new digital Economy Bill is opening the door to Deep Packet Inspection (as opposed to Net Neutrality) in the interest of the music industry. This represents a serious threat to our privacy. See: 'When Rights Clash Online: The Tracking of P2P copyright Infringement vs Ec Personal Data Directive.' by Okechukwu Benjamin Vincents, National University of Singapore
When Rights Clash Online: The Tracking of P2p Copyright Infringement vs. EC Personal Data Directive

- Often the internet service provider is also a provider of other primordial services such as telephone line or TV. What happens to the household when it is cut from the services? Should they maintain the monthly payments for an interrupted service?

I would also like to point out here the benefit of digital environment for the Music industry: No cost of premises, no shop, no print, no CD box, no staff, no shop cost etc... Instead fast music download with DRM (Digital Right Management protecting the re-production of the music in several support).

You can have a look at this graph : 'Do music artists fare better in a world with illegal file-sharing?'

Ultimately, I invite you to consider reading :

- From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

A Pirate-Finder General for the UK?

'My Digital Economy Bill letter to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee'

'Mandelson's Madness'


  1. I really admire this, I mean it really looks interesting! I'm actually glad to see all this stuff,Thanks for convey this.

    Term papers

  2. I have received today a very kind reply to my letter from my MP.
    You can read an extract :

    "I was grateful to you for your detailed thoughts on the Digital Economy Bill which is currently being considered in the House of Lords.

    The Bill received a Second Reading in the Lords on 2 December but is not scheduled to be considered by HofL Standing Committee until the next year. Members of Parliament will only consider the Bill when it has completed all stages in the Lords. I am aware of serious concerns over the content of the Bill and I shall be working with my colleagues on the Shadow Business, Innovation and Skills team on the detailed arguments. I shall ensure that your views are made known to them.

    Meanwhile, I have taken the opportunity of alerting Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to the representations you have put fowrard and I shall keep you advised of any reply I receive."

  3. OUT-LAW: 'Expert claims file-sharing Bill could give Government control of the internet':
    "The Digital Economy Bill would give the Government the power to control the internet access of UK citizens by ministerial order, bypassing Parliament and without an adequate right of appeal, according to one legal expert."

    Goes with the idea of the French 'Depute' Lefevre de nationaliser Internet!!! (in French)
    "Le député Jacques Myard a émis de nouvelles propositions autour du web, lors d'une émission diffusée sur la très droitière Radio-Courtoisie ce mardi (le fichier MP3). A la 39e minute de l'émission, pérorant sur le nucléaire, notre député se fera spécialiste des attaques informatiques, surtout « les attaques chinoises »".
    LePost title:
    'Nationalisation d’Internet et professionnalisation de la connerie'

  4. Could you send a copy of the response to the Open Rights Group. They are the UK equiverlent of the EFF.

  5. New letter from my MP:

    t ,January 2O1O
    Dear lan
    Thank you for your letter of 17 January to Lord Mandelson, enclosing
    correspondence from your un-named constituent, about possible Government
    action to prevent unlawful downloading from the internet. I am replying as this
    matter falls within my portfolio.
    The Government wants as many people as possible to enjoy all the benefits
    that broadband internet can bring. New technology has changed the way
    people want to use and access media content, in some cases faster than
    products and services commercially on offer have developed. We are also
    clear that the benefits of the internet must include economic benefits for our
    creative industries and artists. We therefore take extremely seriously the
    problem of on-line copyright infringement, and have been working closely with
    rights holders, media companies and internet firms to develop practical
    solutions to reduce and prevent this.
    Whilst all parties would prefer a voluntary solution, rather than regulatory, it is
    clear that such a commercial solution is very difficult to achieve. We
    recognise that one problem is the need for a level playing field and therefore
    acknowledge the need for a regulatory baseline.
    The Digital Economy Bill, published on 20 November 2009, sets out in detail
    our proposed legislation to tackle on-line copyright infringement, including
    unlaMul peer to peer file-sharing. The Bill will implement many of the key
    recommendations in the Government's Digital Britain Report (June 2009).
    The Report can be found at: we do
    l${eadcasting1g631.aspx. The details on the Bill can be found at:
    htlp;llinteractive. bis. gov. u kidis ital britainld i g ital-economv-bi I l/.

  6. 'l
    Victoria Street, London SWlH 0ET
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    The Bill would require lSPs to write to theif customers whose accounts had
    been identified by a rights holder as having been used for illegal down loading
    of their material. ln the cases of the most serious infringers, if a rights holder
    obtains a court order, the ISP would have to provide information so that the
    rights holder can take targeted court action.
    We hope these arrangements on their own will secure the 70o/o reduction in
    illegal peer to peer file sharing which is our aim. lf that proves not to be the
    case, the Bill provides a reserve power obliging an ISP to apply 'technical
    measures' to a customer's internet account to restrict or prevent illegal
    sharing. Technical measures might be a band width restriction, a daily
    downloading limit or, as a last resort, temporary account suspension. A
    proper independent appeal would be availa'ole against application of technical
    More widely we also include a reserve power to amend the Copyright Design
    and Patent Act. This will allow us to tackle quickly any misuse of emerging
    technologies for copyright infringement and provide an element of future
    proofing. These measures were adopted following two consultations on file-
    sharing and extensive meetings with all stakeholders. Both consultations, the
    representations made and the Government's responses can be found at:
    http :llwww. bi s. q.ov. u"kiconsu ltation s.
    We also recognise the need to ensure proper education of consumers, for
    new attractive legal sources of content as well as a system of notifications.
    Notifications will play a significant part in that education role, but it is vital that
    there are attractive legal offers available so that unlawful behaviour is no
    longer the "default" for many seeking content on-line. Rights holders need
    business models which work in the new digital environment. That is why we
    welcomed the announcements such as the Virgin Media and Universal
    agreement, the development of Spotify and the music offers announced by
    Vodafone and Sky. These are the types of agreement which will play a critical
    role in moving the great majority of people away from piracy.
    The "gradUated response" Or "3 StrikeS and yOU're Out" System haS been
    discussed between the different industry parties in the context of voluntary
    solutions, and it is the basis on which France is moving to implement.
    However the position in France is somewhat different - copyright breach is a
    criminal not civil offence in France - and we understand that they will also be
    making it an offence if a broadband subscriber does not protect its wireless
    connections. ln our view a simple 3 strikes approach (ie three separate
    instances of copyright infringement and you would face disconnection) is
    disproportionate, and we will not be adopting it in the UK.
    We will not terminate the accounts of infringers - it is very hard to see how this
    could be deemed proportionate except in the most extreme
    - and therefore
    probably criminal
    - cases.
    We added account suspension to the list of possible technical measures
    which might be considered if our measures to tackle unlaMul file-sharing
    through notifications and legal action are not as successful as we hope. This
    is but one of a number of possible options on which we would seek advice
    from Ofcom - and others - if we decided to consider a third obligation on
    technical measures. However what is clear is that we would need a rapid and
    robust route of appeal available to all consumers if we decided technical
    measures were needed.
    Please thank your constituents for taking the trouble to raise these issues with