Sunday, March 14, 2010

Digital Economy, Creativity and Piracy

Having an early morning debating slot usually means that the hall at conference is relatively empty, especially on the last morning as people have to check out of hotels, see to baggage etc. But not this morning when we debated an emergency motion calling for proper freedom on the internet. Child pornography and other serious crimes are already covered under other legislation but the Digital Economy bill seeks to block websites on the basis that their content might be copyright. We had a speaker who has suffered from piracy of his music files pleading against blocking such sites. We had people who understand the law far better than I do pleading similarly. Perhaps most telling was the description of the climate of fear such legislation produces in ISPs when we heard about someone posting a piece of writing by John Stuart Mills, long past its copyright days, and then writing to assorted ISPs telling them they were breaking the law and should take the site down. Only in one country did they do this - Britain. Only here were they so afraid of litigation and too lazy to check the facts. Heaven help us!
By a quirk of timetabling the next item was on making our voting system fairer. Again, lots of people with very wide experience all coming to the same conclusion - Gordon's offer of a referendum is too little too late. We need proper proportional representation and we need it now.
I came home to an email asking me to support the Sanctuary pledge and to watch a TV programme I've never watched before - tomorrow, Monday at 9pm on Channel 4 Secret Millionaire will show someone who was so moved by the plight of people seeking sanctuary here that he's putting some of his millions into a support project. A fitting end to the weekend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you can sign a petition here:

calling on the government to end child immigration detention.