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Lib Dems want aspects of Digital Economy Act repealed

Party wants disconnection for illegal downloaders scrapped

The Liberal Democrats are expected to urge the coalition government to remove the website blocking and disconnection for repeat illegal downloaders clauses from the Digital Economy Act.

The Act became law last month after MPs voted to pass the controversial Digital Economy Bill before Parliament was dissolved in preparation for last week's general election, despite a number of concerns that the bill had not been properly scrutinised.

However, at a special conference, which took place last weekend, the party voted on what the Lib Dems view as the two most controversial aspects of the Digital Economy Act.

The controversial aspects are the contentious clause that allows courts to order ISPs to block websites offering copyright infringing content, along with the clause that sees internet piracy tackled with a three-strikes rule.

Under the system, illegal downloaders will be issued with warning emails and letters. Those that continue to offend will face 'technical measures' which would include a temporary ban from the web.

However, many fear that web users that have been the victim of Wi-Fi hijacking, where people piggyback on others' unsecurred internet connections, will find themselves cut off from the internet as punishment for a crime they didn't commit.

The vote showed the party was in favour of having these aspects repealed from the legislation.

"Conference urges Liberal Democrat ministers and MPs to take all possible steps to ensure the repeal of those sections of the Digital Economy Act 2010 which are inconsistent with policy motion 'Freedom, creativity and the internet' as passed at Spring Conference 2010," the party said after the conference.

However, the Conervatives may not be willing to budge on the legislation.

Prime Minister David Cameron recently told UK student social networking site The Student Room he believes that rejecting or reconsidering the Digital Economy Act will lead to "an unacceptable setback for the important measures it contains".

See also: Coalition govt to fight over Digital Economy Act?

Poll: Where next for the Digital Economy Act?

Under 14 percent fully support Digital Economy Act


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