This blog was setup by @myatu in response to the outcome of the final DEBill vote in the House of Commons, which occurred on April 7th 2010. It is specific to the United Kingdom.

All text and images contained within this blog, except where noted, are licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

DEBill as explained by Wikipedia (licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License) :

The Digital Economy Bill is a bill announced in the 2009 Queen’s Speech before the United Kingdom parliament. The bill received its second reading on the 6 April 2010 and as expecte was not debated at length in the Commons, and was instead pushed through in the “wash up”. It passed third reading on 7 April and Royal Assent will be granted on 8 April.

On 6 April 2010 in a Commons debate the bill was given support by the Conservative front bench and so looks likely to become law before the dissolution of parliament on 12 April.

The bill follows the Digital Britain report and contains many of its suggestions including provisions about:

  • the functions of the Ofcom
  • the online infringement of copyright, including copyright and performers’ rights and about penalties for infringement
  • internet domain registries
  • the functions of the Channel Four Television Corporation
  • the regulation of television and radio services
  • the regulation of the use of the electromagnetic spectrum
  • the Video Recordings Act 1984
  • public lending right in relation to electronic publications
  • the bill proposes adding a clause to the Communications Act 2003 with the effect that internet service providers could be forced to disclose details of their customers who repeatedly infringe copyright, on production of sufficient evidence, to copyright groups or face a fine of £250,000 for non-compliance.
  • ISPs to be required to block access to sites that allow “substantial” infringement.

The bill proposes further measures allowing for the “temporary suspension” of internet connections for repeat infringers of copyright following warnings from their ISP. The bill has received criticism for some of these measures.

Other provisions in the bill include an amendment to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to increase the criminal liability for “making or dealing with infringing articles” and “making, dealing with or using illicit recordings” to a maximum of £50,000.

Regulation of content is also a theme in the bill, which sees it adopt the PEGI standard for video game ratings. The UK government would also be able directly to intervene to control the use of the UK’s domain name space, currently overseen by the independent body Nominet.

The bill also includes proposed changes to DAB radio in the United Kingdom including the reorganisation and merging of some of the local DAB ensembles[8] and a requirement for a digital switchover of terrestrial radio in the United Kingdom.

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