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Leaked: File Sharing in UK Could Bring Jail Time

Today the UK's Secretary of State Peter Mandelson is expected to present a modified Digital Economy Bill to the public. However, many bits and pieces of the bill were leaked onto the Internet last night, and has now frightened many file sharers and anti-government enthusiasts alike.

Why? Because the bill is attacking illicit file sharers by cutting off their Internet access without any kind of judicial process. It will also allow Lord Mandelson to amend the provisions of the Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act of 1988. BoingBoing reports that the bill will give an unelected official the power to do anything without Parliamentary oversight and debate.

The new Secretary of State supers powers were broken down into three abilities:  the power to create new remedies for online infringements, the power to create procedures to "confer rights," and the power to "impose such duties, powers or functions on any person as may be specified in connection with facilitating online infringement."

Lord Mandelson is also going after websites that offer storage, forcing them to make all files public. Ultimately, the bill will create a digital police state where private companies will be able to go after file-sharers directly. While jail time was mentioned, the information didn't provide any specifics, only that copyright "militias" could be formed to police copyright on the Internet.

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