Kill the Bill!

The debate over the Digital Economy Bill is turning out to be one of the most shamefully undemocratic episodes of this government. No, actually I mean “… of this parliament”, because the Tories are equally culpable, and even the LibDems only came to their senses recently.

It’s hardly surprising that people are losing both interest and faith in our political system when the “wash-up” period immediately before the dissolution of Parliament could be used to rush through something so significant. This bill proposes to criminalise file-sharers, punishing them with disconnection from the internet and thereby punishing their entire household, guilty or not. And then the whole thing is driven by hysterical big business lobbying, painting “The Internet” as some kind of dastardly criminal underworld, stealing the livelihoods of our wonderful creative types.

But how come those creative types are finding the internet to be quite the ideal environment for gaining a fair reward for their hard work, building dedicated audiences and developing their careers? Why are so many artists (and copyright holders) embracing the download culture, rather than fighting against it? Why are they taking the independent route, rather than the big advances and shiny PR lifestyle of the traditional artist/label relationship? I’ll leave you to come to your own conclusion, but while you do so, here are some useful links…

What Digital Economy Bill? – Twitter-based protest

Did My MP Show Up or Not? – How democratic is this debate? Was your MP present? If not, why not? – And that’s how you find out… ask your MP about his/her views on the Bill, and whether he/she turned up.

Finally, for the big reading assignment, Mike Outram has compiled a great list of links on his Posterous site. Don’t be uninformed!

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