We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Digital Economy Bill passed to MPs

Lib Dems make further amendment to Clause 17

The controversial Digital Economy Bill has been approved by the House of Lords and will now be put before MPs.

The bill includes proposals to ensure the whole of the UK has access to a minimum 2Mbps broadband connections along with a 'three-strikes rule' designed to tackle internet piracy, which will see web users thought to have taken part in illegal file-sharing issued with warning letters and emails.

Repeat offenders could face technical measures that will slow their internet connection, or even a temporary suspension from the net.

The bill also attracted much criticism last week after the Liberal Democrats suggested an amendment to Clause 17 of the original bill, which raised concerns as it allowed the Secretary of State to adjust copyright law in a bid to keep up with technological advances.

The Liberal Democrats' amendment, however, attracted just as much concern as it gave High Court judges the power to force ISPs to block access to any website with a "substantial" amount of copyright infringing content, such as YouTube.

As a result, the Lib Dems pushed through a further amendment to Clause 17 before it was passed to the MPs, which now gives websites that have been blocked the power to appeal against the decision, as well as claim legal costs and damages from the copyright owner that asked for the site to be blocked.

There has been much speculation that the bill will be rushed through Parliament before the next General Election, which could be held as early as May 6.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the music industry body, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), told the Guardian: "It is vital for the future of the UK's creative sector that the Digital Economy Bill becomes law before the dissolution of parliament.

"We are pleased that it has passed successfully through the Lords and will continue to work closely with all parties as it progresses."

However, Jim Killock, director of the Open Rights Group, said rushing through the bill means it will not be thoroughly debated by MPs.

"The problem is that this could now go to the Commons, and because of the budget it could be pushed through to a second reading which will mean it gets debated for a total of an hour," he told the Guardian.

"It's now too late to do anything about this bill except get rid of it. We are calling on people to complain vociferously about it because the disconnection policies in it are still flawed."

See also: Digital Economy Bill causes rising tension


IDG UK Sites

Nexus 6 vs Sony Xperia Z3 comparison: Lollipop phablet takes on KitKat flagship smartphone

IDG UK Sites

Why people aren't upgrading to iOS 8: new features are for power users, not the average Joe

IDG UK Sites

Free rocket & space sounds: NASA launches archive of interstellar audio on SoundCloud

IDG UK Sites

iPad Air 2 review: Insanely fast and alarmingly thin. Speed tests, camera tests, beautiful...