Consumer rights briefing on UK Digital Economy Bill for MPs

Britain's Consumer Focus just sent a briefing on the dread Digital Economy Bill to every UK Member of Parliament. Parliament is preparing to pass the 24,000+ word legislation -- which includes the power to disconnect whole households from the internet if any family-members are accused of breaching copyright -- without a full debate. (Normally, legislation like this would go through 60 to 80 hours of line-by-line committee scrutiny).

This is a great document, and it's a great primer on the Bill that you can crib from when you write to your MP about this.

Consumer Focus is greatly concerned about the provisions for technical measures in the Bill, Clauses 10 to 13, the appeals process through which subscribers can appeal against copyright infringement notices issued by rights owners, Clause 14, and the so called website blocking amendment 120A, now Clause 18.

To date it is not clear how these provisions will comply with EU law and the Human Rights Act. Furthermore the provisions have not been subject to a proper economic impact assessment as defined by the Cabinet Office Guidelines. Hence the Government risks implementing legislation with a significant, but as yet unknown cost to the economy. This is symptomatic of a Bill that has been rushed through Parliament and is unlikely to realize the potential of Digital Britain. The technical measures and web-blocking provisions would have greatly benefited from pre-legislative scrutiny, and while some significant amendments have been made in the House of Lords, the provisions need full debate and scrutiny in the House of Commons.

Digital Economy Bill briefing (PDF 83 KB) (Thanks, Saskia!)


  1. I wholeheartedly recommend writing to your MP. I got a reply from my local Labour MP within two days with a two page letter defending the Bill.

    I replied a day later with a four thousands word article and a summary of my objections – all based around the damaging business implications of the bill.

    A few hours later and my MP responded it was more complex than she could comment on fairly and so she had passed it onto Stephen Timms, the Digital Minister for his feedback, which I now await.

  2. Lets see now nearly all members of parliament many of whom will not be standing in a month or two and are retiring decides to pass a law that will effect everyone in the country with out any debate what so ever?

    I say they have been bribed. Simple as that, either them OR there parties have been bribed.

    A full independent investigation into the parties and individuals involved would shed a lot of light on what happened here, sadly that will never happen as the government or the next will never allow that to happen.

    Sigh and we think corruption in the third world countries is bad well at least there honest about been corrupt.

    btw if anyone here thinks that this government is not corrupt please give me a logical explanation why they did not have a debate about it?

  3. Yup. Me too. Very surprised at the speed of a favourable reply from my MP, both re. this subject and previously re. my objections to an ID card.
    However, I still say that Mandelson (really can’t bring myself to refer to him as “Lord”!) has got an awful lot to answer for. I also maintain that it was extremely suspicious of him to start the ball rolling after associating with some media mogul. Of course, this wasn’t discussed, or so he says. A likely story say I.

  4. I had a very encouraging reply from my MP, James Plaskitt (Labour, Warwick and Leamington Spa). He defended the bill, naturally, but he did promise that he would not vote for the bill without it getting proper parliamentary scrutiny. I think a lot of backbench MPs are realises the potentially disastrous implications of the bill, both for the nation and for their own seats…

  5. April 6 is second reading.
    Parliament will ajourn soon (April 8th is predicted as the last meeting by BBC and others).
    Will not pass.

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