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
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.
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.