Home UK “Digital Economy Bill” May Allow for Website Shutdowns

UK “Digital Economy Bill” May Allow for Website Shutdowns

The House of Commons passed a controversial piece of legislation called the “Digital Economy Bill.” The loudly-criticized law nontheless passed 187-47, according to the Guardian newspaper.

The bill purports to provide comprehensive regulation of digital services, in order to clear the way to promoting Britian as a digital econmic power. Criticism focused first on a clause that would have given broad government discretion to the closing of sites. That clause was removed, but the amendment to another was still significantly worrying to some.

From the bill itself, the amendment to clause 8:

“The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision about the granting by a court of a blocking injunction in respect of a location on the internet which the court is satisfied has been, is being or is likely to be used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright.”

A little thought on which site might be accused of being “a location on the internet” where copyright violation might have occurred, or might occur in the future, and you’re likely to come up with YouTube, BitTorrent, DailyMotion, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and Google. To start with.

A second criticism focused on the way the troublesome bill was passed, during the period of time just prior to dissolution of parliament, called the “wash-up,” when, to put it mildly, legislator attention is not at its peak.

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