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The Digital Economy Bill – What’s it all about? March 18, 2010

Posted by kewroad in anti-piracy, government, internet, politics.
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Since the announcement of the Digital Economy Bill in last year’s Queen’s speech this pending bit of legislation has received a lot of attention and as it moves from the Lords to the Commons this week the debate around this continues to intensify. The question is what is it all about and why is there so much fuss surrounding it?

The gist of the whole thing is that it aims to reduce internet abuse with a particular focus on copyright infringement with measures such as cutting off persistent offender’s internet connections. The act will also increase the criminal liability level associated with “making or dealing with infringing articles” and “making, dealing with or using illicit recordings” to a maximum of £50,000.

ISPs will also have to pay closer attention to their users if the bill goes ahead as failure to report suspicious activity will result in fines of up to £250,000. It also proposes new powers for the government to control the use of the UK domain name space and has the potential to give Peter Mandelson unlimited power to enforce copyright by bringing into law any measure relating to file-sharing on the Internet, without the consent of Parliament.

TalkTalk have launched a mock music video to voice their opposition to the bill and BBC Panorama has done a report on the bill and its potential impact, but many felt that is focussed too much on the music industry and did not address human rights issues or the way it would impact the future of society.

With the general opinion being that this bill will be pushed through before the general election it looks like we will all have firsthand experience of this new legislation sooner rather than later so let’s hope they work out all the bugs before we get cut off from the internet for watching the wrong video on YouTube!

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