Views On The Digital Economy Bill Shifting Rapidly

from the getting-dizzy dept

Well, this is a bit of a surprise. The Liberal Democrats in the UK, who had previously pushed to add some troubling language to the Digital Economy Bill, are now not only skeptical of the bill, but fighting the plan to rush it through the House of Commons. As you may recall, the plan was to zip this through the Commons via a wash up procedure, which doesn’t allow for debate. The goal was to get it done before the election is held. However, the LibDems apparently have heard (loudly) from their constituents:

On Tuesday afternoon, the party’s chief whip Paul Burstow tweeted that he had told the government the Liberal Democrats will not support the bill as it is drafted because there is “not enough time for MPs to examine it in detail”.

That said, it seems like there’s a lot of rapidly changing views on the Digital Economy Bill. With more and more opposition growing, the government amended one of the more controversial clauses, so that it’s greatly watered down. The clause that previously could have shut down legitimate sites based on some infringing use now requires courts to take into account those legitimate users. It also makes it so ISPs won’t have to pay court costs, meaning they’re less likely to shut something down just to avoid court.

Meanwhile, reader Phatnobody notes that according to some copyright holders, the Digital Economy Bill doesn’t go far enough.

Given all of these shifting and changing views (and shifting and changing provisions in the bill), it seems like it would be a really dangerous move to simply rush the bill through with no debate. These are major issues that impact a very large percentage of the population. Not allowing for an open debate on the issue seems very, very questionable.

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Comments on “Views On The Digital Economy Bill Shifting Rapidly”

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12 Comments
Kevin Marks (profile) says:

New clause isn't an improvement

It doesn’t write a law, but defers writing a law to to Secretary of State. It also adds in the ‘likely to infringe’ clause, and even a new clause that enables blocking of locations likely to facilitate access to locations likely to infringe, which requires remarkable clairvoyance from the judge, but is clearly aimed at search engines and other sites that point to files.

More analysis from Lilian Edwards

Modplan (profile) says:

I got sent an email from a recent campaign that was made (thanks to another Techdirt commenter) to contact MP’s and convince them to review the DEB, where they’re posting ads in newspapers and other media.

They asked for donations amounting up to £10,000 and have gotten over £20,000. Methinks the word will get out one way or another.

https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/contribute/DigitalEconomyBillAd

December Advocate (profile) says:

thank Iommi for that!

I wrote to my MP several tımes and he ıs not pleased wıth the bıll either. he ıs pushıng for ıt to be debated before beıng passed. the irony ıs that pıracy wıll stıll happen even ıf thıs bıll is passed. the hubrıs of the entertaınment ındustry ıs matched only by theır stupıdıty and short sıghtedness, both of whıch are colossal!

apologıes for the funny letters, ı am usıng a turkısh keyboard ;D

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