That emergency motion in full…

I’m proud to be proposing this emergency motion to Liberal Democrat Spring conference, seconded by Julian Huppert, and supported by many more!

Text of emergency motion:

Emergency motion on Freedom, creativity & the internet

Conference welcomes the stand of Liberal Democrat MEPs against web-blocking; specifically that, on 4 March 2010, Liberal Democrat MEPs helped the European Parliament to demand access to the negotiation texts of the secret, international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations, which were condemned on 22 February 2010 by the European Data Protection Supervisor for endangering internet users’ fundamental rights.

Conference however notes with concern amendment 120a to the Digital Economy Bill which allows web-blocking for alleged copyright infringement and which was passed on 3 March 2010 with the support of Liberal Democrat and Conservative peers;

Conference reaffirms the Liberal Democrat constitution commitment: “We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity.”

Conference believes that this amendment to the Digital Economy Bill

a) would alter UK copyright law in a way which would permit courts to order the blocking of websites following legal action by rights-holders

b) would be open to widespread anti-competitive and civil liberties abuses, as the experience with similar web-blocking provisions in the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act illustrates

c) could lead to the closure of internet hotspots and open wifi operated by small businesses, local councils, universities, libraries and others

d) could have a chilling effect on the internet, freedom of expression, competition and innovation as Internet Service Providers take down and/or block websites to avoid facing the costs of legal action

e) may be illegal under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and other EU law

Conference condemns

a) web-blocking and disconnecting internet connections

b) the threat to the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals and businesses from the monitoring of their internet activity, the potential blocking of their websites and the potential termination of their internet connections.

c) the Digital Economy Bill for focusing on illegal filesharing rather than on nurturing creativity and innovative business models.

Conference supports

a) the principle of net neutrality, through which the freedom of connection with any application to any party is guaranteed, except to address security threats or due to unexpected network congestion.

b) the rights of creators and performers to be rewarded for their work in a way that is fair, proportionate and appropriate to the medium.

Conference therefore opposes excessive regulatory attempts to monitor, control and limit internet access or internet publication, whether at local, national, European or global level.

Conference calls for:

1. All publicly-funded publications to be freely accessible under a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike licence.

2. Copyright legislation to allow fair use and to release from copyright protection works which are no longer available legally or whose authors cannot be identified.

3. A level playing field between the traditional, copyright-based business model and alternative business models which may rely on personal copying and legal filesharing.

If you are a LibDem Conference representative, we now need you to stir up support for the motion, firstly to get it prioritised for debate, and then to actually attend and support it in the debate.

We’ll be putting a new posting about this all on LD Voice too.

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27 Comments »

  1. [...] we – sent an open letter to LibDem Voice and a private one to Nick – are tabling an emergency motion to conference – will continue to lobby our DCMS team on this important [...]

  2. Needs to also condemn the blatant corruption of the peer involved in passing the amendment.

    • Jock said

      No it doesn’t.

      Let’s get policy debated and agreed before branching off into recriminations. There would be zip chance of getting a motion passed that tried to do both.

    • Jock said

      …and besides, given what we now know of the process that led to amendment 120a, it would actually be quite wrong in my opinion to attack C-J as having acted with “blatant corruption” and I suggest that you reserve your judgement on it.

      • He works for an RIAA/MPAA law firm. Given that, it’s entirely unclear how the motion can be seen as anything other than craven corruption.

      • Steve said

        David Gerard sees conspiracies everywhere. Was the ZOG involved, too?

  3. jrms said

    Thank you so much for proposing this motion. It’s easily the most insightful document I’ve seen from the political sphere about the Internet.

    I have a question, which is, is this motion likely to repair the damage caused by Lord Clement-Jones et al’s tinkering with and support of the Digital Economy Bill, or has Lib Dem support up til now been sufficient that the bill is certain to be passed in more or less its current form?

    Is this motion only about preventing future horribleness, or does it also stand a chance of removing some of the worst parts of the DE Bill?

    • Jock said

      From my perspective as one of those involved in drafting it and sponsoring it, it is hoped that it sets policy for the DCMS team in both houses to work to during the remainder of the bill.

      Now parliamentary tactics are always difficult – if this stands a chance of passing before or during the pre election “wash-up” it may be that whatever the Lib Dems have done or however they change tack now may not matter. Let’s not forget that Labour retain a majority and that the Tories in the Lords made it pretty clear that they would not support amendments that were overall destructive of the intent of the bill – the reason for the current bad amendment was that the Tories would not support a better one tabled by the same Clement-Jones that would simply have deleted the worst aspect of granting the Secretary of State power to order take-downs.

  4. An excellent motion, would love to speak in favour of it at conference – it is vital that we as a party stand firm in the face of vested corporate interests and defend individuals rights to access content without fear of disconnection.

    A really positive motion – thanks!

  5. ceedee said

    Excellent work, Bridget. Many thanks.

  6. nice info ..someday will be allright.. ^_^

  7. Small technical point:

    “c) could lead to the closure of internet hotspots and open wifi operated by small businesses, local councils, universities, libraries and others”

    That could be a consequence of the Bill in general however it is not a consequence of Amendment 120a in particular.

    Slight re-wording needed.

    • Jock said

      Dang; I don’t know if we can make substantial amendments now that the motion is in and the deadline past. Probably actually could get away with just an “and” though as in:

      “Conference believes that this amendment and the Digital Economy Bill”

      After all, whilst the emergency motion is driven by the furore around the amendment, we are seeking to give a steer on the whole bill as well.

      • Should have added that this is a fantastic motion and it has my support.

  8. Miles said

    This is an excellent motion.
    Well done to everyone involved.

  9. [...] That emergency change in full… « Bridget's Blog [...]

  10. That’s great stuff, many thanks Bridget!

  11. [...] [Update] There is a motion going to the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference on this. [...]

  12. [...] Meanwhile, an emergency motion has been submitted to Spring conference. Bridget Fox has the details. [...]

  13. [...] Emergency Motion against the Digital Economy Bill amendment 120A has been tabled at the Liberal Democrats Spring [...]

  14. [...] Emergency motion on the Digital Economy Bill submitted (see full text on Bridget Fox’s blog) [...]

  15. Jono said

    Brigdet,

    To quote Christian Engström, (Swedish) Pirate MEP, ” parliament is not a door mat!”

    (http://christianengstrom.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/acta-the-parliament-is-not-a-door-mat/)

    Keep up the good work!

  16. Steve said

    Bridget, you’re applying the well being of individuals” is being applied very selectively: artists’ rights are also a human right,

    We may have reservations about some details, but I see nothing in this amendment that shows any respect for creators.

    See the UN’s Covenant on International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, article 15, paragraph 1 (c):

    “The right of everyone to benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he or she is the author.”

    You’re saying you can’t do anything to protect creators, and stealing is OK.

    • Jock said

      Oh, I love that line of reasoning. Like the one that says “if you are in favour of legalising drugs you are in favour of everyone taking drugs”.

      Check out, in the “conference supports” section of the above motion, paragraph (b):

      b) the rights of creators and performers to be rewarded for their work in a way that is fair, proportionate and appropriate to the medium.

      …and explain to me how this sort of practice, which seems all too common, respects creators’ rights.

      The simple fact is that most of the milking of the copyright (and patent for that matter) system is done by big middlemen with deep pockets and a desire for them to be deeper, but without a creative bone in their corporate bodies and who only respect the rights, moral or otherwise, of the actual creators to the extent that they can sign those rights away to them in return for access to the mass market that they control.

      The motion calls for a policy group to investigate the whole gamut of issues that are broadly bundled under the collective term “intellectual property” which is, frankly, a great opportunity to look at whether a mechanism intended originally to enable the state to control what knowledge and creativity did get reproduced and allowed anywhere near the great unwashed is the best mechanism by which creators themselves get reward for their work.

  17. [...] Emergency motion on the Digital Economy Bill submitted (see full text on Bridget Fox’s blog) [...]

  18. [...] Party members go into action to sort matters out, Julian Huppert and Bridget Fox created an emergency motion at the party conference that declared Conference therefore opposes excessive regulatory attempts to monitor, control and [...]

  19. [...] with Bridget Fox, Obhi Chatterjee and an army of activists online and offline, I helped to get an emergency motion passed almost unanimously at Spring Conference last year that condemned the Bill, in particular for [...]

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