Mr Roger Gale MP. Thank You

My MP has sent me another email this morning. This time I have not sent or asked anything of him, he has taken the D E Bill cause on and is doing everything he can for us. He has single handedly restored my faith in local politics, I really never expected such a response or commitment. So, Roger Gale MP. Thank You.

Instead of emailing me, this time he emailed Jeremy Hunt and cc’d David Cameron, following a meeting of 1922  (Backbench) Committee last night. This is what he sent:


I understand that there is a liklihood that the government may try to give the Digital Economy Bill a second reading on Tuesday, 6th April (on the day when Brown will probably go to the palace) in order to render it eligible for “wash-up” treatment following the “approval” of the House.

If this is so then it would be a gross misuse of parliament and of process: whatever one`s view of the content it is clear – as exposed in the Lords – that it is a flawed piece of legislation as it stands and something that would need the full scrutiny of a Commons Standing Committee and Report stage before being allowed to pass into law.

May I hope, therefore, that the Opposition will resist this potential abuse and, if necessary, not only vote against the bill but indicate that it will be repealed, re-written and re-enacted properly by an incoming Conservative government if railroaded through in the dying days of this administration?

Yours ever

I still have to draft my email, but with this kind of support from my local MP, I am more determined than ever to keep pushing until this Bill is shown the respect it deserves by the current Government and those who support pushing it through before an election.

Please contact your MP now. It needs just your postcode to find your local MP and then it re-drafts and email for you. It really is that simple. Email you MP here.

My MP has truly shocked me.

Well, I think we all know where I stand on the Digital Economy Bill, but I have never really attempted much communication with my local MP. Over this matter I have physically written to mine and then when the Bill actually left the House Of Lords, I emailed to follow up on our previous commuunciation. Here are the two responses I have received from Roger Gale, if this is how my MP responds, he’ll get my vote going forward … yes, I am that easily pleased.

Letter Response:

D E Bill Response

First email response, after an email I sent thanking for letter and urging debate not wash-up:

Dear Zoe,

You are clearly well-informed so you will know that the bill received its` third reading in the Lords on Monday – which means that it now comes to the Commons.

With the budget and ensuing debate next week this means that there is virtually no time left for any other legislation to be discussed before the House is expected to be dissolved for the general election.  There is, therefore, a very real danger that this bill could be shoved through in the “wash-up” in the dying days of this government.

I have asked the Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to beware of this – but the voting numbers are, of course, at present stacked in the Government`s favour.  I cannot pretend that it looks good – it does not.

Yours ever

The second email response, following email asking to push for particular removal of the clause that pertains to a devasting change to the copyright law:

I have passed your comments directly to Jeremy Hunt for consideration: the problem is that during the last two days of a parliament a lot of horse-trading goes on and it very much depends what is on the agenda and what the perceived priorities are.  But if I can press your case further I will do so.
Yours ever

So, bascially our rights will be horse-traded, is this what we really want. We have to hit them hard.

My world after Digital Economy Bill is day 74

Apologies, but I am hijacking my own 365 for something I feel exceedingly passionate about.

Tonight saw a big public airing of the implications of the Digital Economy Bill on BBC’s Panorama. The Bill passed through the House of Lords today and now goes to the House of Commons, where it is expected to be passed before an election. If you are somehow still unaware of what it is, please just search for it, or do a twitter search for #debill. It passed today through the House of Lords with comments including “ill-though out”, “will be back here in 3 years”, “in the pockets of the industry”. None of which fills me with comfort and leaves me wondering why the rush, why did my local MP know nothing of it when I wrote to him about it and who exactly are the government there to protect?

What Panorama didn’t even touch on is the Orphan Works section of the Bill. This is supposed to enable the use of the orphaned images, currently in existence, in places like museums and libraries. What the legislation will enable is the ability to download any image from the net, rip out its meta-data (which essentially contains all the copyright information of the producer of the image) and claim ignorance as to the originator. This allows anyone, from large media organisations to the individual at home, to steal any image (from any image sharing website) and use it as they see fit, irrespective of the intentions of the image creator. From a personal perspective, this is devastating.

As an example, I could create an image to sell as a limited edition print. I place a copy of this on image sharing websites and my own website as marketing and successfully sell some of the editions. What could now happens is that an organisation could come across my image, download it, rip out the meta information and then use it. The use might be advertising, article background or header on a web page, either way, they have just destroyed the limited aspect of my work. In addition to this, if I were to discover the use and complain (to the body that is being created for this purpose) I would receive a nominal fee for the work and no compensation or the ability to have the use removed.

As such, my 365 today, is an image I am creating to show you how I would minimally have to display all of my images in the future to protect from theft. It is an image from yesterday’s 365 and I feel it is a shame that I would no longer be able to leave the image as created to draw the viewers eye in the way the original image intended and effectively have to treat every viewer as a potential thief.

Want to help, visit this flickr group for some links and sign this petition to stop disconnects and this petition to stop the copyright reform. Thank you for reading. Normal service will resume tomorrow.

And in case you are wondering. I do have an image for today on my iPhone, just so I feel I have taken a photo a day!