UK House Of Commons On Digital Economy Bill: We'll Approve Now, Debate Later?

from the wash-up dept

Despite tens of thousands of people writing their MPs, and multiple MPs asking for approval of the Digital Economy Bill to be delayed, it looks like the Leader of the House of Commons, Harriet Harman, has decided that the bill will be rushed through via a "wash up," no matter what. Glyn Moody points us to an image showing that a lot of MPs simply decided not to even show up for the discussion, which is a bit of a disgrace.

Even worse, though, is that Harman is pretending that the bill is not being rushed through, even though the bill will go through the wash up process. Her argument seems quite disingenuous -- suggesting that even though the bill won't get to go through the normal process of debate, there will still be opportunities to make changes after the bill has been approved -- though it appears that some politicians seem to think that's mere window dressing, and the later debate/amendments will never actually happen. The whole thing seems quite bizarre. Basically, it looks like the plan is to approve the bill and debate it later. There still will be a brief debate and vote tomorrow evening which, in theory, could kill the bill, but most reports appear to believe it's a foregone conclusion that the current bill will be approved -- and then (maybe, possibly, but probably not really) the controversial bits will be debated later.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 11:02am

    Elections May 6?

    Aren't the Brits having MP elections May 6th? They probably wanted to rush through the bill and hope that voters have forgotten about it by the 6th.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 11:08am

    The lobbyists have paid good money for that bill and they want it NOW!

    There's a simple explanation for everything.

     

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  3.  
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    GuyFawkes, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 11:08am

    Good for the rest of the world. The only ppl that will lose from this will be british ppl. Of couse when i say "good for the rest of the world" im beeing sarcastic. it´s a tragedy, but it´s a tragedy to uk. we, from outside, we still have reseanable copyright/internet laws. i think that can lead to a slow development on uk creative industrie. when you have to wait to get something (wait to a law to protect you and them start your business) you´re really late. so i´m praying to EMI get bankrupted and in the future other content monopolys too. sure that wont happend in mass but ok, EMI is fine. what they dont understand is that music will be on the geekys hands (lastfm, spotify, grooveshark, all from geeks). when artists stop RECORDING with the record industries and start to record and PROMOTE with spotify, lastfm etc they´re dead. they´re digging their own funeral. sorry 4 bad english, have to type fast

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 11:11am

    As a non-Brit, I'm mostly just confused at how much actual power the Lords apparently still have...

     

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  5.  
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    John Doe, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 11:26am

    Same tactic taken with the healthcare billl

    This sounds like the exact same process used to get the healthcare reform bill through. It is a dangerous precedent that people are setting by allowing our normal process to be circumvented by the governments.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 11:27am

    Re:

    It happens that the lords spend more time listening to what the public has to say than the actual parliament...

     

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  7.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 11:35am

    This is a good this ...

    This will destroy the internet businesses in england. ISPs wont host anything that is "potentially" infringing, fair use will just stop, new products wont see the light of day in britain, p2p software will get better and more anonymous. As we have seen in other nations, three months after the passage of these sort of laws piracy rates are higher, Spain, Sweden, South Korea, are great examples. The reason it is a good thing is it will cost pretty much every corporation with an internet presence money. In the end the cost will be higher than the money the media industries are loosing by several times ... IMHO ... and it wont save them peoples habits have changed

     

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  8.  
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    Freedom, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 11:39am

    Re: Same tactic taken with the healthcare billl

    Darn it - you stole my thunder :)

     

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  9.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 11:51am

    Re: Same tactic taken with the healthcare billl

    This sounds like the exact same process used to get the healthcare reform bill through

    While I'm not a fan of the healthcare bill, this is simply not true. Healthcare got a full hearing in both houses of Congress. The DEB is not getting a full hearing in Commons.

     

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  10.  
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    mike42 (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 11:56am

    only one thing for it...

    Boycott the entertainment industry. Not just in the UK, here in the US as well.
    Don't buy any more DVD's, rent or watch what you already have.
    And don't go to the movies!

    Make it clear that this is wrong, and you won't stand for it.

    Or just lie down, shut up and take it, like the good doggie you are!

     

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  11.  
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    Another let down Internet user and member of the B, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 11:57am

    Did we expect anything different from our government?

    Just to say that this is not surprising at all! Another fine example of British 'democracy' lol...

    Oh well, at least if they do catch anyone downloading copyrighted materials they cannot prove that it was you beyond reasonable doubt.

    IP addresses do not identify individuals and individuals cannot be expected to be wireless or network security experts. This is one law that is complete bo11ocks!

     

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  12.  
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    John Doe, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: Same tactic taken with the healthcare billl

    It may have gotten a full hearing but it did not go through the normal voting process.

     

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  13.  
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    kirillian (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re: Same tactic taken with the healthcare billl

    That is true. I think that the grandparent was trying to make the point that congress DID pull an end-run around the normal process to pass the bill...

     

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  14.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Did we expect anything different from our government?

    "IP addresses do not identify individuals and individuals cannot be expected to be wireless or network security experts. This is one law that is complete bo11ocks!"

    Secondary liability... you are the owner of record and are liable for what other people do on your WiFi.

     

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  15.  
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    Jake, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Elections May 6?

    Yes, we are. And that sounds about right to me, not that the Digital Economy Bill got much media attention anyway.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Same tactic taken with the healthcare billl

    This sounds like the exact same process used to get the healthcare reform bill through. It is a dangerous precedent that people are setting by allowing our normal process to be circumvented by the governments.


    This comparison shows a lack of understanding of how the British Parliament is organized, how this bill is being passed, and how the health care reform bill was passed.

    First of all, while the US and UK legislatures each have two houses, the House of Lords is by no means analogous to the Senate: the Lords are not elected, and the House of Lords has only very limited powers (their failure to pass a law can only delay it, not stop it as in the Senate).

    Here, a law which was passed by the (non-democratically-elected) House of Lords is getting rushed through the house of commons with no debate, which is by no means the normal way of things for anything so controversial.

    As for the healthcare reform bill, it's actually two bills. The main one was passed by the senate by the usual process and then by the house, after debate in both as usual. The second, which amended the first, was passed through the reconciliation process that has been used by Democrats and Republicans alike for the past 30 years to circumvent filibusters and pass various controversial legislation (e.g. COBRA, George W. Bush's tax cuts, etc.). It was passed first by the house, then modified slightly before being passed by the senate, then passed by the house again.

    The Democrats briefly considered a very likely unconstitutional "deem and pass" method of avoiding having two separate votes on the two separate bills, but ultimately decided this was not a good idea after all and passed the two laws legitimately.

    (On a related note, the filibuster too is different in British Parliament, in that people are required to actually speak rather than just threaten to and the speech must be relevant to the topic at hand (no reading the phone book). As such, it is used much more rarely.)

     

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  17.  
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    PeteProdge (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    Re: This is a good this ...

    I'm British. And I've long hosted my sites on servers in the USA. They're cheaper, have better service and uptime. (Google for UK's FastHosts if you want to read some nasty stories.)

     

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  18.  
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    JoshC, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Elections May 6?

    re #1.

    I've already told my MP that if this bill is rushed through I'll be voting for someone else. I like my MP but his attitude on this is wrong.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re: Same tactic taken with the healthcare billl

    Very thoughtful and informative.

    +1

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re: Did we expect anything different from our government?

    That's what ACTA is trying to bring to the world. People dont seem to get it, when it happened here, and our corporate overlords bought the DMCA, we were mocked by the rest of the world. See how long it took for the corruption to spread to Europe?

    Were all in this together, if you cant see that now.. well I guess its already to late. There has never been an exchange of power BACK to the people... without a civil war.

     

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  21.  
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    Chargone (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Re:

    to the best of my knowledge the lords are Part of parliament, actually.

    as is the house of commons.

    not sure about that though. i know that technically the monarch (or govener) is here... i say technically because we also have a speaker for the house, the governer generally never seems to do anything other than officially start and end things, and i have no idea if they ever even bother showing up anymore. but 'here' is not the UK...

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Same tactic taken with the healthcare billl

    Explain.

     

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  23.  
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    Richard (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Re: Elections May 6?

    not that the Digital Economy Bill got much media attention
    anyway.


    I thought that too - I smell a bit of a rat here - a conflict of interest maybe - seems especially strange when the media did kick up a huge fuss about MP's expenses (surely less important) and about corporate lobbying generally - (surely the DEB would have an excellent example.

     

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  24.  
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    Richard (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Same tactic taken with the healthcare billl

    This sounds like the exact same process used to get the healthcare reform bill through. It is a dangerous precedent that people are setting by allowing our normal process to be circumvented by the governments.

    Big difference here . The US government used procedures to frustrate corporate lobbying and pass a bill in the interests of the population.

    The UK government is using procedures to pass a bill on behalf of corporate lobbyists and to frustrate the public's opposition.

    Plus the in US case the bill got plenty of debate - in the UK case the bill will go through under the radar with almost no debate or publicity at all.

    The two are not similar - they are almost complete opposites!

     

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  25.  
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    Leefe, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 5:48pm

    Re: only the Brits

    While it looks to only affect the British, you can be sure that if precedence is set there, then other countries will pass similar laws.

     

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  26.  
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    Tim Dickinson (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 6:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Elections May 6?

    That's not entirely true though.

    There were full page ads both for and against the DEB in most broadsheets today. And the BBC had an episode of Panorama dedicated to the topic (still on iPlayer @ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00rl4dl )

    However, whereas in the US politics looks to have become quite polarised, at least to outsiders like myself, with both sides of the debate defending their views strongly. Sometimes both sides with misinformation, but there certainly does look to be interest in politics.

    Here in the UK the general public is so apathetic towards politics and politicians that most don't think they can make a difference and that MPs are on the take. The decline in interest has happened over decades, but the recent scandals about MPs' expenses and then laws for cash has disillusioned people so far most just no longer care at all. With an election coming the parties stay pretty close in the polls because no-one is really worth voting for and people are trying to decide on the lesser of two evils.

    Watching the DEB getting "discussed" in Commons today was unbelievably disappointing. This is a massively important bill and it is being rushed through in the wash up procedure, but even then only about 35 MPs bothered to turn up to say anything.

     

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  27.  
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    md1500 (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 6:55pm

    I watched Parliament debate the Digital Economy Bill last night with a mixture of horror and incredulity. Given the importance of the Bill and the calls for debate, I couldn't believe how empty the House of Commons was.

    It now looks likely that the Digital Economy Bill will pass. Not that it matters. It is doomed to failure. Sweden introduced IPRED - Piracy INCREASED. France introduced HADOPI - Piracy INCREASED. People have even got around the great firewall of China. The Internet is impossible to censor.

    I found it hilarous when MPs said one letter would be enough to stop filesharers... The 20,000 letters sent to MPs clearly had little effect on stopping the Digital Economy Bill. I plan to treat any letter I receive from my ISP as a result of the Bill with the same consideration my MP gave mine: Zero.

    Also, I just love how during the course of the debate, the cost of piracy rose from £200million to £400million. I've heard of inflation but that's ridiculous. Various MPs kept quoting these outlandish figures and nobody questioned them. Surely anyone with half a brain could see the ridiculousness of these statements? Is it really feasible that despite being in a global recession, the UK collectively has £400 million lying around in spare cash, gathering dust, which we'd be more than happy to spend on Simon Cowell's latest dross if only those dratted P2P services didn't exist?

     

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  28.  
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    mike allen (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 9:52pm

    i watched this debate

    It was on Tv I counted less than a dozen MPs in the house for such a important debate. This Bill is written by the enterment industry not the government and will be pushed through. ~It will kill a lot of the internet from the UK internet radio will be non existant. even streaming from spotify or other such sites will cause a letter to be sent.this is so bad that in my opinion we in the uk would be better moving to china!!!!! it would be freeer.
    Our MPs should be ashamed of themselves the main media should also but then they have paywalls coming in soi guess they will keep quite. The BBC well they cant do a lot but better watch out as their Iplayer uses P2P technology and anything that does that will be suspect even linux distros. The UK will become a internet desert with this bill.

     

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  29.  
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    The eejit (profile), Apr 7th, 2010 @ 1:03am

    In the Commons, there were 15 MPs in for the DEB debate.

    To pass a law int he UK, both Houses need to pass it, AND HM the Queen must sign it into law on either her birthday OR New Years Day.

    Now I know that my (soon to be ex-)MP wasn't in the Commons at the time. So I will not vote for him. If I'd had more time, I'd stand as an Indy for the MP seat, then I can scounge better than those time-wasters ont he dole. :p

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2010 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re: Did we expect anything different from our government?

    That's what they are telling you! You don't have to beleive everything they say! lol

    They cannot force the public to be computer network security experts. Most users do not know the first thing about security, nevermind what an IP address is. Is the government going to pay to train every single internet user in the country?

    Secondary liability? So If someone murders someone, are their parents responsible for the murder? The murder would not have happened if the parents never gave birth.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2010 @ 6:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Elections May 6?

    To me that sounds like a pretty good summary of politics in the US as well. The vote is between two people with equally bad positions. It's sad in a lot of ways, especially because the chance of breaking the Democrats/Republicans hold of power in our nation is highly unlikely. Though I still do care, it's hard to when you know anyone who might actually have your best interests at heart doesn't stand a chance in any election.

     

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  32.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Apr 7th, 2010 @ 6:54am

    With the electon writ dropped there's no Commons to pass anything

    Unless I'm seriously mistaken once a writ of election is dropped there isn't a single MP, including cabinet members who actually has a job right now. At least until May 6.

    So just how you rush this through a Commons that, for the moment, has zero members and pass it to the Lords for rubber stampimg is puzzling.

    Even in the apparently unlikely event of Labour actually winning the vote there's still things like a Throne Speech, budget and all that dreck to get through once the Commons returns.

    In the likely event the Tories win, even with a minority, things will take longer to come back together again.

    Could be interesting though.

    ttfn

    John

     

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  33.  
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    mike allen (profile), Apr 7th, 2010 @ 7:51am

    Re: With the electon writ dropped there's no Commons to pass anything

    wrong the commons is disolved next Monday and the ministers remain in post until the the result is anounced.
    I should have made it clear that at one time only 12 were in the house i agree with the total of 15 above.

     

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  34.  
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    gorehound (profile), Apr 7th, 2010 @ 8:25am

    Boycott all Corporate Studios

    Me again calling for a general boycott of all these greedy companies.that is the only wway we can fight the RIAA,MPAA, & Others.We have to fight them with our wallets so do not give them your cash.Buy stuff used or support a rental store please.
    Do not go to the theater.There are better ways to spend your time.

     

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  35.  
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    Thomas rand, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 7:13am

    repsonse from my MP

    Dear Thomas,

    Thank you for your reply and for sending me the links to those articles. I thought it might help if I explained that these contain a couple of factual errors. Firstly, the computing article claims that amendment 120a gets ISPs to police websites and allows for people to be cut off from the internet. Neither of these are true. The clause that is now in the Bill sets up a system whereby a court can block a website if it believes it is facilitating a significant amount of illegal downloading and doing won't impact on legitimate users of the internet or on freedom of expression. This to me is a reasonable approach to take against such sites.

    The clauses that deal with illegal file sharing and potential temporary suspension from the internet are clauses 10-17. However, these clauses cannot come into being for at least 12 months and only after Parliament has debated whether they are necessary. Again, this is a reasonable and proportionate approach to a problem that costs the economy hundreds of millions of pounds a year.

    You may not be convinced but hopefully I have explained my thinking on these important issues.

    Thanks again for getting in touch.

    Best wishes,

     

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  36.  
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    aint_no_stopping_us_now, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 12:01pm

    Re: repsonse from my MP

    Again, this is a reasonable and proportionate approach to a problem that costs the economy hundreds of millions of pounds a year

    Hundreds of millions?? economy?? What about the total cost of 850 billion we, the taxpayers, have paid to support reckless trading in banks.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/163850bn-official-cost-of-the-bank-bailout-183 3830.html

    This government needs a reality check and sort out some real issues

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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