Only 35 people turn up to Digital Economy Bill flashmob protest

Protesters gather like a flash
Protesters gather like a flash

Online copyright reform campaigner, the Open Rights Group delivered 'Disconnection Notices' to the headquarters of all three major parties, rounding off with a flashmob protest outside the headquarters of the artist's rights group UK Music.

Around 35 people turned up to the protest on Berners Street, wearing policeman's helmets and carrying clipboards, pretending to look for an excuse to cut off UK Music's broadband supply.

The notices were part of an April Fools Day campaign to try and halt the progress of the Digital Economy Bill scheduled for a Second Reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday April 6.

Rubber stamped

It's expected that the bill will be rubber stamped by Labour and Conservative MPs as part of the 'wash up' process before the election, despite a last minute amendment inserted this week which has received no parliamentary scrutiny. The Liberal Democrats yesterday announced that they would not be supporting the Bill.

UK Music and its CEO, Feargal Sharkey, are keen supporters of the Bill.

"We dropped a disconnection notice off at Labour's headquarters this morning," explained ORG campaigner Florian Leppla, "But they just got very angry with us, The Conservatives sent someone down to quietly accept it and the Lib Dems were really friendly."

Members of the flashmob included independent film producers Obhi and Jayanta Chatterjee, of Inner Eye films, who have lobbied the Liberal Democrats to clarify their position on the Bill, and students from Gloucestershire.

"It's definitely a big issue for me and anyone who follows tech news," said one protester, Elliot Hughes, "I'm just keen for it to at least be an election issue, and not be rushed through before."

A spokesperson for UK Music said nothing, and just locked the front door.