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.

Filed Under: digital economy bill, united kingdom


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  • identicon
    Kevin Marks, 31 Mar 2010 @ 4:54pm

    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

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2010 @ 5:25pm

    it so much better to leave thing in their current state where right holders pay millions to chase down infringers and where it can take years to even get a case into a court to deal with it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2010 @ 5:37pm

      Re:

      Justice takes time. Last time I checked, *REAL* criminal trials (you know, not civil infringement) aren't settled in 5 minutes because the victims are upset and allowing due process annoys them.

      Then again, you have no interest in justice.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2010 @ 5:40pm

      Re:

      Yeah! Copyright holders should just be able to streamline the process with little to no public input in a democratic system.

      THEM STEALERS ARE DESTROYING OUR OBSOLETE INDUSTRY!!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2010 @ 5:55pm

    I think what they are saying is

    **IA wants Judge Dread in charge of all copyright infringement cases.

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

  • icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 31 Mar 2010 @ 6:19pm

    I wonder ...

    I wonder if what is happening here is what will happen to ACTA when it comes under public scrutiny. If it does it will most likely lead to a rewrite of copyright law for the digital age. Perhaps even pro consumer. Unintended consequences you really have to love them.

    One can only hope ...

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

  • icon
    Modplan (profile), 31 Mar 2010 @ 7:42pm

    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

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

  • icon
    Modplan (profile), 31 Mar 2010 @ 7:44pm

    Forgot to add: You can see a bunch of responses people got e-mailing their MP's about the DEB.

    http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2010/03/30/digital-economy-bill-what-did-your-mp-say/#comment-4 2466986

    Should make an interesting read.

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

  • icon
    December Advocate (profile), 1 Apr 2010 @ 3:58am

    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

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2010 @ 9:37am

    The other story in your "doesn't go far enough" link actually sounds pretty outrageous (albeit nothing to do with the Digital Economy Bill). Is the UK really considering banning all photos in public places that include people who haven't consented to being photographed?

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

  • identicon
    Dave, 1 Apr 2010 @ 2:08pm

    Votes

    Could it be that the Lib-Dems fancy their chances of polling a few more votes in the general election, or is that just the old cynic in me coming out?

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

    • identicon
      Call me Al, 1 Apr 2010 @ 4:18pm

      Re: Votes

      Certainly, they are making a play for the educated net user which is a fairly massive potential voting base in the UK, especially as they are people who are actually likely to vote.

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


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