The UK's DMCA; Clause 17 falls, but at what cost?

Editor's picture

During another intense session in the House of Lords this afternoon a vote was finally held on the controversial Clause 17 of the UK's Digital Economy Bill. This clause would have allowed the Secretary of State to amend the UK's copyright law with a lot less oversight from parliament than usual. The government did not hide the fact that this provision would be used to clamp down on unlicensed file-sharers in various ways as the industry demanded. However, there was a bright side; the clause would have permitted Lord Mandelson (or more likely his successor) to do as he promisedback in October and relax the UK's copyright law by bringing in the 'fair use' exemptions it so desperately needs.

The real problem with clause 17

Editor's picture

There has been much speculation around clause 17 of the Digital Economy Bill, the part that would give the unelected Lord Mandelson powers to rewrite copyright law whenever he chooses, grant powers to others at a whim, or impose duties or fines on anyone who offends him.

The Financial Times are hinting that the government may back down on clause 17, and some commentators are referring to it as a "legislative sacrificial goat" that the government will agree to drop in return for the other parties backing the other controversial (to put it mildly) proposals in the bill, such as ending the legal right to be considered innocencent until proven guilty, and punishing people who are provably innocent for the actions of others who share their wifi connections with or even without their permission.

I won’t vote for any MP who supports Mandelson’s Digital Economy Bill

Editor's picture

I’ve just started a new facebook group: I won’t vote for any MP who supports Mandelson’s Digital Economy Bill.


The Digital Economy Bill plans to disconnect people from the internet if they’ve merely been accused of filesharing, or if anyone sharing their connection has been so accused. This is a breach of our human rights, and must be opposed.

Andrew Robinson interview

Editor's picture

Pirate leader Andrew Robinson has been interviewed on Simply Syndicated, where he discusses Mandelson's Digital Economy Bill.

Lord Mandelson asks for unlimited powers

Editor's picture

Lord Mandelson has asked for the most dangerous and far-reaching powers imaginable to fight his doomed battle against copyright infringement. In leaked documents he has asked for the power to amend the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988) in any way he wants, at any time, with no parliamentary vote.


It goes without saying that giving an unelected official the power to invent laws on a whim is wrong, but it's his reason for wanting this extraordinary power that should give the most cause for concern.

Government confirms disconnection plans

Editor's picture

The Queen's Speech didn't mention it, but government are pressing ahead with its plans to disconnect filesharers:

The most headline-grabbing part of the Digital Economy Bill will be a clampdown on onlinepiracy. Last month, Peter Mandelson set out the government's plans for a scheme which would see persistent online sharers of copyrighted material sent a series of warning letters before having their broadband connections slowed down or even suspended.

Music companies welcomed Mandelson's move, which goes further than the measures suggested by Carter in June's Digital Britain report, but internet service providers have warned that the cost of implementing the measures will outweigh the benefits.

There are also fears that innocent internet users could have their wireless broadband networks hijacked by pirates and fall victim to the tough new regime. One of the UK's largest internet service providers, TalkTalk, has already warned that it will launch legal action if the plan is put into action.

Mandy confirms he'll cut off filesharers

Editor's picture

Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, has confirmed that the UK government is planning to cut off filesharers from the internet:

The UK government will take steps that will exclude persistent downloaders of content from connecting to the internet, it confirmed today.

The UK business secretary, Lord Peter Mandelson said that the UK would pass legislation to cut off people as a last resort. Before cut off, individuals would receive warnings that their activities had been detected and warned to cease and desist.

Last day for consultation responses

Editor's picture

When the Pirate Party UK was formally registered, one of the first things we did was ask our members to respond to the government's consultation on P2P file sharing. Since then we've seen a lot of developments, with Lord Mandelson threatening to cut whole families off the net for the actions of just one person, and various lobby groups such as the Featured Artists Coalition coming up with their own, often contradictory statements.

If we don't want these profit-motivated groups to write their own laws, then we need to make our voices heard, and one way to do this iby responding to this consultation document.

Why I'm Happy If They Criminalise It

Editor's picture

So, Lord Mandelson comes back from his holiday and decides to pay for it by quickly adding a bit to the Queens Speech that will allow his mates to increase their vast fortunes.

Lets forget the fact that this should all be debated in the Digital Britain debate in parliament later this year and look at what positives might come from this.

More Information

Chat with us


Social Media

Twitter icon Facebook icon RSS icon YouTube icon

Current Internal Elections

Proposal to close the Party - View
Voting opens: Sunday, 20 September, 2020 - 23:59
Voting closes: Sunday, 4 October, 2020 - 23:59
NEC Elections 2019 - View
Voting opens: Monday, 9 December, 2019 - 00:01
Voting closes: Monday, 23 December, 2019 - 23:59
Governor - View
Nominations opened: 11 April, 2019 - 23:59
Nominations close: Thursday, 25 April, 2019 - 23:59
Voting opens: Saturday, 20 July, 2019 - 23:00
Voting closes: Saturday, 27 July, 2019 - 23:00
Nominations Officer - View
Nominations opened: 11 April, 2019 - 23:59
Nominations close: Thursday, 25 April, 2019 - 23:59