The Digital Economy Bill

Yesterday the Lords debated the Digital Economy Bill and I can tell you it made riveting viewing via BBC iPlayer. Scandal, intrigue, terror, romance, sword fights, epic battles, CGI explosions and Sam Worthington without a shirt on are all things that did not feature in the hours of footage of doddery old folks.

The Bill has been passed and is about to be rushed through Parliament to make it law before the general election, a tactical play to infuriate the Conservatives


The Bill covers acts including the “three strikes” rule for those downloading illegal files which means if ‘you’ are caught downloading illegal files three times you will be banned from ever having an internet connection. The problem lies in that the owner of the connection is liable, not the actual downloader . You could be working within the law but someone else who shares your connection can download as much as they like without fear.

A last minute addition by the Liberal Democrats also allows ISPs to block access to certain sites so in theory all torrent sites, legal or otherwise could be blocked shortly. Consumer rights groups have argued it would lead to “blocking based on accusation rather than a court injunction” and could shut down sites like Google and YouTube. This is entirely possible – YouTube features millions of clips of illegal programs, films and songs it would take a few complaints from the record industry and the entire of the UK would have Youtube blocked. That’s an extreme example but there is nothing to stop that from happeneing.

The Bill also included the addition of 50p per month on to every single land line bill to pay for broadband access for the entire country so your access to the Playstation Network and XBox Live (and indeed, TSA) just got more expensive. Yay.

Source: BBC