Digital Economy Bill rushed through by MPs who know nothing about it


With a general election on the way, we got to see a true, albeit grim example of democracy in action last night, as the controversial Digital Economy Bill was hurriedly passed as part of the government’s ‘washing up’ programme ahead of the big vote.

Once the bill becomes law, internet service providers will be obliged to send letters to any of their subscribers linked to alleged copyright infringements. Copyright holders will also be able to apply for a court order to gain access to the names and addresses of repeat offenders and take legal action against them. Meanwhile, ISPs will also be able to suspend accounts of offenders.

MP Tom Watson stated that over 20,000 people have emailed their MPs over the past week in protest at some of the aspects of the bill – including the fact that people who live in the same building as ‘copyright thieves’ could find themselves caught up in legal action, despite being innocent of any crime.

The already-muddled piece of proposed legislation, skewed by ‘lobbying’ from the creative industries (and non-UK citizen David Geffen, while playing host to Lord Mandelson on his big yacht) could have a massive effect on how the Internet is used in the UK but it was rushed through almost unchecked with just a handful of MPs present to discuss its various clauses. Of course, when it came to the vote, hordes of them swarmed in from the bar to put their name to a bill that they knew nothing about.

We can’t really sum up how we feel about it any better than Skeptobot’s excellent, detailed blog post which covers how the evening unfolded in the House Of Commons. So go to there.

EDIT: Oh, and our very own Mof Gimmers has had a bit of a rant about it all as well.


  • JonnySpandex
    What a complete load of bollocks!
  • Zleet
    Internet in the UK - RIP 2010
  • Adebisi
    'Internet in every home by 2012 unless we have banned you'
  • ClamMan
    ISPs can't see what I'm downloading anyway. SSL Usenet = All data is encrypted so all my ISP knows is how much I'm downloading but can't see what files I'm downloading :)
  • JonnySpandex
    Because you or someone else on your connection has downloading possibly something
  • Brian's U.
    unbelievable. UK to censor information like China? The great firewall of the UK?
  • Tom P.
    Usenet all the way, and Feargal Sharkey getting raped by a lifer at Parkhurst . Happy days.
  • Nobby
    This bill makes me want to fileshare.
  • The B.
    Time to start using an encrypted proxy then.
  • ClamMan Did My MP Show Up or Not? No! (Booooo!)
  • Nobby
    I read that as Did my MP show u porn OT ?
  • What B.
    [...] you need conclusive proof of how wrong the passing of the Digital Economy Bill was, check out this reply sent to an MP by Stephen Timms, Financial Secretary to the Treasury. Oh, [...]
  • Adebisi
    This is great news as nobody at work knows how to download fom usenet (using ssl encription) so I will start selling films, music and games to them - this really is a good time for the entrepreneur!!
  • Imhji
    You have to pay for Usenet with SSL though don't you?
  • Ten B.
    [...] The Digital Economy Bill – voted through by a bundle of clueless MPs with no idea of what it was about… [...]
  • UK c.
    [...] than analyse the immense ignorance, stupidity and blatant special lobbying by Geffen and Murdoch and their empires  that is embedded in this shocking piece of legislation, [...]

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