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Mandelson Looks To Alter The Copyright Law For Enforcing Copyright

The First Secretary Of State, Peter Mandelson, is making preparations to induce a change in the Digital Economy Bill which will endow him and future politicians with new powers to enforce copyright laws.

According to a letter leaked to internet activist and writer, Cory Doctorow, the Secretary is hoping to put certain clauses in the bill that would allow the Secretary of State to make “secondary legislation" (legislation that is passed without debate) to amend the provisions of Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988).

If Mandelson has his way, then with the new powers, the Secretary of State can randomly set sentences for illegal downloading, including jail time. The latest amendment will also allow the politicians to "confer rights" on third parties, such as investigators from the recording industry, to investigate and enforce actions against suspected copyright offenders.

It has also been reported that if the legislation is passed, the Home Secretary will have powers to force duties, powers or functions on any person to deal with cases of online infringement. This will give politicians the power to force ISPs to go through personal data of customers and give it to third parties.

Doctorow commented that this was a war cry from the entertainment industry against the principles of free speech, privacy, freedom of assembly, the presumption of innocence, and competition.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.