My (disappointing) correspondence with Michael Cashman MEP over Mandelson’s 3 strikes policy

With today’s announcement of the Digital Economy Bill containing the dreaded three strikes policy I thought I’d share my disappointing correspondence with Michael Cashman MEP.

I first wrote to him with;

Dear Michael Cashman,

I’m biased as my career is based entirely on the web, but Mandelson’s plans to implement disconnection without trial for those accused of copyright infringement over the internet is seriously disturbing.

The internet is so crucial to communication in the 21st century that to disconnect people without a ruthless exploration of the facts is unthinkable to me.

At a time when the Government is targeting broadband roll-out for the whole country with it’s Digital Britain agenda this surely can only be a backwards step for the digital economy of the UK.

I’d like to ask that you support, in whatever way you can, the Open Rights Group and La Quadrature who are calling on the EU to save our right to a free trial under amendment 138 (“No restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end-users, without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities.”)

Malcolm Harbour and Rapporteur Catherine Trautmann are leading the negotiations on behalf of the EU Parliament. If they win, the UK government will be stopped from their current plan to disconnect people after a number of accusations of copyright infringement unless they “appeal” to an “ombudsman”.

Yours sincerely,

Philip John

His first, one sentence, reply was about as re-assuring as a poke in the eye (you can see the scanned version of this letter, too);

Dear Mr John,

Thank you for your recent email.

I support the right to ‘free trial’ and their suspension if found guilty. But I do not support the Open Rights Group position on copyright.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Cashman

Obviously not happy with that, I gave it another go;

Dear Michael Cashman,

Thank you for replying to my letter regarding Lord Mandelson’s plans for disconnection without trial for those accused of copyright infringement over the internet.

I was disappointed with your short response and lack of support for the Open Rights Group who are trying to protect the basic right of the British public to a fair trial.

Regardless of whether you support ORG, do you recognise that all people throughout Europe have a fundamental right to a free trial? Do you
recognise that Lord Mandelson’s plans would waive this right? Will you work to stop Lord Mandelson’s plans from being put in place, therefore
protecting all those you represent from being unfairly prosecuted by the authorities without a fair hearing?

I trust a more thorough response will be forthcoming.

Yours sincerely,

Philip John

I wasn’t hopeful, and rightly so;

Dear Mr John,

Further to your recent email. I fully support Lord Mandelson who I am sure will not deny the principle of a citizen’s right to a fair trial.

I have nothing further to add to the principles outlined in my original reply: the right to a fair trial.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Cashman

So pretty much “no, now leave me alone.” I can see his point, I mean who am I but a lowly citizen trying to ensure that my government doesn’t diminish the basic freedoms we should expect? And you know, why should he do anything about it anyway? It’s not like he’s an elected representative of the people or anything…. Oh, hang on.





2 responses to “My (disappointing) correspondence with Michael Cashman MEP over Mandelson’s 3 strikes policy”

  1. Rob Avatar

    People are dangerous. If they’re able to involve themselves in issues that matter, they may change the distribution of power, to the detriment of those who are rich and privileged.

  2. Rob Avatar

    The corporate interest in maintaining copyright or altering reality to prop up a failed business model depending on how you look at it is global.

    If this or a form of it makes it into a WTO round – most likely as an obscure condition for some other concession – then the UK/EU will be in whatever happens in either parliament.

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