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Popular pressure builds against Digital Economy Bill
23.03.10 | Catherine Neilan
The Digital Economy Bill is facing a popular revolt, with the petition against the measures to cut internet access for those caught illegally file-sharing drawing more than 34,000 signatures so far.
The petition has more than doubled the number of signatories since last November.
Meanwhile, more than 10,000 letters have been sent to members of parliament in less than three days, and a protest is being organised for tomorrow (24th March) at parliament, where it is anticipated the bill is likely to be pushed through.
The protest is being co-ordinated by grassroots political pressure group 38 Degrees and the Open Rights Group, a non-profit organisation, which has the likes of journalist Heather Brooke and author Cory Doctorow sitting on its the advisory council.
A blog post by ORG executive director Jim Killock said: "It is outrageous for corporate lobbyists including the BPI, FAST and UK Music to demand that MPs curtail democracy and ram this Bill through Parliament without debate. The British people did not elect UK Music and the BPI to write our laws.
"How dare they push our MPs towards punishing innocent people by disconnecting them from the internet, without proper democratic scrutiny? That is what is making our 10,000 supporters so angry – pushing this Bill through without debate is undemocratic and dangerous."
The 38 Degrees website described the Bill as a "draconian law", adding: "Schools, libraries and businesses could see their connection cut if their pupils, readers of customers infringe any copyright. But one group likes it, the music industry. In a leaked memo a few days ago they admitted the only way to get the bill through would be to rush it through without a real parliamentary debate. Let’s stop that happening."
The Publishers Association is broadly supportive of the Bill.