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 Lord Clement-Jones, the Liberal Democrat Lord  whose amendment to the Digital Economy Bill would have got  websites blocked by the courts, has now admitted that he tabled  amendments for  the BPI, and for James Murdoch's Sky,  as well as for consumer groups and the Internet industry.

Does it make it ok because he  tabled amendments for everyone? Is it not rather a betrayal of all parties, not least of which are the UK citizens? 

 

LordClement-Jones revelation in the Guardian informs us more about the corruption at the highest levels of Westminster. He appears to have  thrown his toys out of the pram in the interview with the Guardian, saying that it would be 'ludicrous' to declare his interest in his law firm, DLA Piper, each time he 'opened his mouth' in the House of Lords.

 According to The Guardian,  Lord Clement-Jones  has

worked  with the FA Premier League to clamp down on websites offering live coverage of football games without the organisation's permission. The same report says that he also advised Universal Music about its digital music plans, and points out that his  amendment could get  YouTube  blocked by a court.

 

The web blocking amendment he tabled was drafted by the BPI (the four major music labels, which include Universal whom he advises). This was  revealed first on iptegrity.com (see my previous articles). His weak defence was the everybody does it, and there is 'nothing unusual' in tabling an amendment for a lobbying firm such as the BPI, 'if they have merit'. The question is, on what basis does this BPI proposal have merit, and on what basis is Lord Clement-Jones making that judgement?

 

He admitted that his firm works for 'thousands' of clients worldwide in the high-tech industries.  He now admits that he tabled amendments for the ISP industry. The ISPs are desparate to block this Bill, and they most definitely  oppose the BPI and its attack on their industry.

Very few of the  amendments the ISPs wanted actually got into the law, and those that did were of minimal impact. The law is going ahead in much the same shape that it started.

This would suggest that he has betrayed them in his own interest. The BPI web blocking amendment will harm high-tech companies, as will the copyright enforcement measures which make up a majority of the Digital Economy Bill.

Lord Clement-Jones' firm, DLA Piper,  will stand to gain from the fees they will have to pay in order to avoid the onerous liabilities that are going to fall on them with the Digital Economy Bill. And as a partner, he will gain personally when the firm's profits are divided up.

He went on to attack the Internet users, making an unsubstantiated accusation about 'unpleasant comments'. What he does not see is that people  are angry at him for abusing a privilege, and working to change the law to benefit not only his clients but his own pocket.  His claim to have tabled amendments for the consumer champion, Which? rings hollow.

On the other hand, it might be interesting if a few more of their Lordships threw their toys out of the pram. Then the UK public might learn what the true level of corruption in Westminster  is.  The expenses scandal only scratched the surface, don't you think? 

 Here is the Guardian article. 

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2010)Liberal peer tabled for Murdoch, BPI and ISPs    http://www.iptegrity.com 27 March  2010 
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In 2012, I presented my PhD research in the European Parliament.

Iptegrity in brief

 

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing.   I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. I am currently (from June 2022)  Policy Manager - Freedom of Expression, with the Open Rights Group. For more, see About Iptegrity

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