Anti-Filesharing Digital Economy Bill Evokes Protests

Behind the anti-filesharing components of the Digital Economy Bill there are two major false assumptions.

One is that filesharing is an economic disaster that deserves to be prevented by the toughest measures possible. This line is indistinguishable from that held by the IP exploitation industries: it is not one widely held outside.

The other assumption is that with sufficient effort, those tough measures will work. Again, this is not a widely held view among those who may be asked to implement those measures.

Evidence of the weakness of the latter view comes today in our report on the potential effect of the bill on the mobile data industry. Providing an affordable, efficient and reliable cellular network is hard work and has kept the operators fully occupied: they have seen no reason to also monitor and log the intimate details of their users' data transfers, let alone to judicial standards, ZDNet UK reports.

Meanwhile, the petition, which was started by Talk Talk, the internet service provider, calls on the Government to reconsider its plans to disconnect persistent illegal file sharers from the internet. The proposals form part of the Digital Economy Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament.

The petition reads: "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to abolish the proposed law that will see alleged illegal filesharers disconnected from their broadband connections, without a fair trial."

Stephen Fry, a renowned technophile, was aghast at the plans, and urged fellow Twitter users to sign the petition in the hope of persuading Peter Mandelson to amend the Bill.

"I'll keep at this till a million sign!," tweeted Fry. "We mustn't let Mandy do this WRONG thing. Please sign & RT," reports.

It was also reported, while many of the measures have won wide-ranging, cross-party support, others have attracted significant criticism from industry figures and consumers alike. Plans to cut off the internet connections of illegal file sharers have been met with dismay by some organisations, with internet service providers such as Talk Talk and BT supporting court fines for repeat offenders rather than the termination of connections.

On Thursday, and Virgin Media are hosting a panel discussion to explore some of the key themes and issues raised by the Digital Economy Bill. Among the experts participating in the live debate will be Ed Vaizey, the shadow minister for culture, and Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of UK Music, which represents the commercial music industry. There will also be representatives from the Government, consumer groups and internet service providers, reports.

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