I dropped into the #openrightsgroup meetup last night. Jim Killock presented on the coming legislative challenges, the crawl of the DE Act to execution, the resurrection of the CDDP, the corporate lobbying of the Tories and the EPP in European Parliament to weaken the EU’s proposed Data Privacy regulation. The resurrection of DRM in the standards world (HTML5) was raised, as was retaining the capability to help scrutinise electronic counting of paper votes, and oppose the full automation of elections. Jim announced that the ORG are organising an ORGCON North and an ORGCON in London later in this year. Welcome to #ORGCON13

After the meeting, we of course descended into ranty huddles; one discussed the meaning of cyberspace and how to defend it, the other was a little more measured discussing the outrageous legal strategies of the Music and Film companies. Certainly the interests of the non-infringing customers of the deemed infringing web sites are not represented in court and at least one person raised the lawyer’s “Duty of Candour”. I agree that this requires some exploration; issues such as the response to take downs where there is no copyright ownership, and the impact on the completely innocent. We have seen one Lawyer severely censured for his activities in the Copyright Wars, some others might like to review if they are acting within their professional standards.

Somehow or other we got onto Parliamentary Sovereignty and Judicial Review, sort of good timing that Alan Wagner posted the links, almost exactly as we were arguing, to this article by Dr. Mark Elliot explaining exactly how it works. Parliament is Sovereign, UK Courts can strike down secondary legislation, which are government fiats, can certify law as incompatible with the ECHR which renders the UK liable to action under the Council of Europe treaty; an alternative legal remedy in seeking to get the law declared incompatible with EU Law by the EU’s Court of Justice is also available. Perhaps there were too many Lawyers present, but the “Duty of Candour” has some legs I think.


Neither Elliot’s article, nor our conversation considered the Devolution Acts as constraints on Parliamentary Sovereignty. Shame on us!

A night with the Open Rights Group
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