Last week, the UK LibDem party was thrown into scandal when two of its Lords proposed an amendment to the Digital Economy Bill that would allow for national web-censorship, particularly aimed at "web-lockers" like Google Docs and YouSendIt. Now a leaked document from the British Phonographic Institute suggests that the amendment was basically written by the record industry lobby and entered into law on their behalf by representatives of the "party of liberty."
This weekend, LibDem members who attend the national convention in Birmingham will have the chance to vote on an emergency measure affirming the party's commitment to an open and just Internet, repudiating this disastrous measure. If you (or someone you know) is attending the convention, please support the "Save the Net" emergency measure and help rehabilitate the party's reputation on fundamental freedoms in the information society.
Parliamentarians need to recognize that copyright touches everyone and every technology in the digital age. It is no longer a question of inter-business regulation and deals. Getting copyright wrong has the potential to mess up our freedom of speech, prevent us from getting the benefits of new technologies, and damage society in other very profound ways.
It is therefore deeply inappropriate for such fundamental proposals to have been introduced by both the government or the opposition parties at the behest of one side of the debate. That applies just as much to disconnection, which Mandelson introduced in the summer at the last minute under pressure again from the BPI and other rights holders.
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