Views On The Digital Economy Bill Shifting Rapidly

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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