Digital companies object strenuously to UK Digital Economy bill

Facebook, Google, Yahoo and eBay have written a letter to Britain's Pirate-Finder General, Peter Mandelson, objecting to his proposal to introduce the Digital Economy Bill with provisions that allow him to make up any copyright law and penalty he likes. He's responded saying, "Don't worry, no one would ever abuse that power, ever, ever. Why would they?"

"The law must keep pace with technology, so that the Government can act if new ways of seriously infringing copyright develop in the future," a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Bis).

The consortium believe that if Clause 17, as it is known, is approved it will give "any future Secretary of State" the ability to amend copyright laws as they see fit.

"This power could be used, for example, to introduce additional technical measures or increase monitoring of user data even where no illegal practice has taken place," the letter read.

This would "discourage innovation" and "impose unnecessary costs" representatives of the firms wrote.

Bis said that clause 17 was a necessary extension of its plans to reduce copyright theft and that fears that government would mould copyright laws to their needs were unfounded.

Web giants unite against Digital Britain copyright plan

(Thanks, Graham!)