Letter to Lady Hermon #3strikes #digitaleconomy

This entry was posted by on Saturday, 9 January, 2010 at

I’m supposed to be hoovering this morning but just got a letter from
my MP with a response to the questions I had passed on to her about
the Digital Economy Bill and wanted to get it answered. It is a fairly
comprehensive letter but excludes some key points which I hope I have
raised below.

Dear Lady Hermon,

Thank you very much for your letter dated 4th December 2009 which I
have just received. I have a few points I would like to raise from the
letter you made available to me from Stephen Timms.

1/ Mr Timms mentions a court order being required for providing
information and for cutting off the internet connection, it is my
understanding that this is not the case. I believe the bill allows for
rights holders to contact the ISP directly to obtain this information
and then obtain the cut off. I would very much appreciate some further
information on how these 2 measures would be enacted. I would also
like to see criminal acts being tried in the courts as all other
criminal acts are – not carried out in a tribunal at the behest of a

2/ I am concerned about the court action which would take place, so
far those people accused of downloading illegal material are fined as
if each illegal download would have been a purchase – this is quite
frankly ridiculous. I would like to find some information about the
monetary punishments which could be put in place.

3/ The appeals process, I would like to obtain more information about
this item. Surely, if someone has been to court to have their guilt
proven then the appeal is through those same courts – why would there
be any need for an “independent” tribunal? If the tribunal is
required, who would sit on it? Would it have legal powers? Would it
contain any members of the recording industry for instance?

4/ The reserve power to amend the copyright, design & patent act. It
strikes me that this is nothing more than getting rid of the
requirement for laws to be put properly through parliament. Why is
this necessary? If technology changes then change the law accordingly
through the proper process – this amount of power is dangerous in the
hands of any government(power corrupts etc).

5/ While I very much agree that the legitimate download mechanisms are
improving and are a useful tool(I am a premium spotify subscriber and
use it regularly) I am also concerned that this is restricting users
even more. People like to own music and pass it down to their children
etc – the rise of excessive DRM makes this almost impossible. I have
recently switched from iphone to an android phone and have been unable
to take the majority of my songs with me – I have already bought them
so why should I now re-buy them in a different format? Could this be
where some of the illegal download figures are coming from? This also
goes for my e-books and audiobooks, I am sick and tired of forking out
for the same thing.

I find this governments lack of vision in technology quite disturbing
and would urge you to consider carefully the points made above.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Whittaker