The gloves are now off. Andrew Heaney of TalkTalk has posted a petition at petitions.number10.gov.uk, calling for an urgent reconsideration of the so-called ‘Pirate Finder General’ legislation proposed by current Secretary of State Peter Mandelson. 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
The proposed laws see the Government attempting to clamp down on illegal filesharing. Under the proposals announced in the Digital Economy Bill, ISPs such as TalkTalk would have to forward warning letters from copyright holders to subscribers suspected of illegal filesharing and that a list of warnings received by each subscriber be maintained.
Names on the list would be protected by some form of anonymising process, but if a copyright holder asked to see the list the ISP would have to cough it up. From then on the copyright holder could go to court seeking to uncover the names of the top offenders.
It is understood that proposals would see the Secretary of State able to exercise additional powers which would effectively give said official the power to increase jail sentences for those accused of illegally sharing files without resource to parliamentary debate:
“The Secretary of State may by order amend Part 1 [of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act] or this Part for the purpose of preventing or reducing the infringement of copyright by means of the Internet, if it appears to the Secretary of State appropriate to do so having regard to technological developments that have occurred or are likely to occur.”
The Terms and Conditions section of the E-petitions site states that ‘serious petitions’ which receive more than 500 signatures will require an official responce from Number 10. At the time of writing, there was just under 10,000 signatures.
Earlier today Stephen Fry tweeted the following:
“I’ll keep at this till a million sign! We mustn’t let Mandy do this WRONG thing.”
To view and sign the petition, click here.
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