Today Lord Mandelson will present the Digital Economy Bill which will include measures aimed at reducing illicit file-sharing. Yesterday parts of the bill leaked out, revealing that the legislation could lead to jail terms for file-sharers and unprecedented powers handed to private entertainment companies.
If this isn’t draconian enough, Mandelson includes giving the Secretary of State the power to introduce major new rules without Parliamentary oversight – this from a twice-fired, unelected politician.
Commenting on Mandelson’s attempt to fast-track proposals to amend the 1988 Copyright Act, and adding fuel to the fire this morning are the Liberal Democrats.
“This is an outrageous attempt to slip through sweeping changes with the minimum of scrutiny,” said Don Foster the Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary.
“We do not live in an autocracy, where major rules can be introduced on the whim of an unelected politician.”
Foster notes that his party does wish to address illegal file-sharing, but rightly adds that a workable solution is only possible through co-operation.
Although there will be many who support a crackdown on rampant piracy, many supporters of democracy on both sides are very concerned at Mandelson’s moves.
“For Lord Mandelson to attempt to create new offenses without proper assessment by the Commons is utterly shameless,” concludes Foster.