The air of inevitability surrounding three strikes legislation in the UK came to its fruition yesterday with the announcement by Lord Mandelson that the government will seek to pass legislation that will force intermediaries to disconnect users involved in file-sharing. I hate to say “I told you so”, but I have been harping about three strikes for a while. The blogosphere is already replete with replies to the new development, so I will not add my voice to the overwhelming condemnation of this step by directing readers to ORG and PanGloss.
The announcement came in context of the 2009 c&binet forum conference, which was webcast live, so it left a very interesting digital trail of commentary as people were speaking (see the hastag #cabinetforum). The Twittersphere had its hopes raised by a speech the previous day by David Lammy MP, the Minister for Higher Education and Intellectual Property. Lammy MP had been rather open, and made an informed and balanced presentation on the topic, which prompted people to tweet that they were expecting reasonable measures to be announced the next day (licensing provisions amongst others). Being the pessimistic cynic that I am, I immediately smelled a rat; I suspected that we were being softened up for the inevitable killing blow the next day. The government ignored all contrary advice, and Mandelson still went ahead with the misguided three strikes policy.
So, the opposition starts here, although I am afraid that the government won’t listen to the webosphere; Darth Mandy was particularly dismissive yesterday when Jim Killock from ORG asked a question. They ignore their own advice and consultations, so what chance do we have? Nonetheless, heavy and strident opposition to three strikes might help to sway some MPs. The Internet has already issued a fighting challenge, and now the ISP TalkTalk has clearly stated that it may take legal action over the proposals, as it might cost intermediaries greatly.