The Digital Economy Act was brought into force as one of the last acts of the outgoing Labour government, with the support of the Tories and against the wishes of the LibDems. This undemocratically enacted act must be repealed and the parliament must be given a proper debate about its future.

Why the contribution is important

The Digital Economy Act was brought into force just as the election was called. The so called wash-up ensured that the law was never given proper scrutiny by the parliament and that a prolonged debate was avoided. This is undemocratic, sets a dangerous precedent.

Apart from the lack of democratic oversight in the enactment of the bill, the text of the law is itself greatly flawed. It threatens to disconnect everyone whose connection was ever used for an illegal purpose. Moreover, the burden of proof falls on the accused, rather than the accuser - if they get information from the ISP that seems to suggest a download happened on that link it is up to the defender to prove this did not occur. Maybe your neighbour came over and asked you to share your internet connection, you agreed and they downloaded something illegal. You will be disconnected, even though you never actually did anything illegal. The rule of law so cherished by many figures in British history is being seriously damaged here.

We are letting our most fundamental liberties be eroded here, and for what purpose? The rich copyright owners (this is not the same as the producer of the work) feel that the billions they already have is not enough. We must stand up for our rights now and end this travesty.

Current rating

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Average score : 4.9
Based on : 346 votes
biodiplomacy
Posted by biodiplomacy July 02, 2010 at 17:14
I agree that the way this act was brought into force was shoddy, with poor parliamentary discussion ("undemocratic" is exaggeration, but pardonable). There are those who will say the Act should be reviewed rather than repealed.

My vote would, however, be for repeal. If there is a case for an Act covering some of this ground, it should be brought forward with proper preparation and in conformity (content and priority) with the coalition's programme.

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pprice
Posted by pprice July 02, 2010 at 17:53
this law will enable the government to stop us from surfing the net for information,that they think is against their policies do not allow this act in law,,, repeal it now...

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Samitch
Posted by Samitch July 02, 2010 at 17:58
There are some good things in is Act, but the idea of cutting people's connections unless they can prove they didn't download anything is potty. Most people that use the web have limited technical skills. People using it for illegal activity tend to have much more knowledge - what hope do ordinary non-techies stand?

This law needs to be repealed. Then it requires sensible discussion, without undue influence from those with a commercial interest. Our country's laws should be for the benefit of it's citizens, not multi-national conglomerates.

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kbandm
Posted by kbandm July 02, 2010 at 18:02
This law stands no chance of catching any of the people it is supposedly designed to do. Like most such laws and regulation, it only ever leaves the innocent to get caught long after the offender has cut and run.

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Dayers
Posted by Dayers July 02, 2010 at 18:26
I do not condone illegal Downloads but I believe that this Regulation could be misapplied, therefore I am against it.
Why not put this effort in to closing and catching Paedophile Sites/Users? Can't imagine too many arguments against that!

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rob_cornelius
Posted by rob_cornelius July 02, 2010 at 19:34
This bill was a sham from start to finish. Get rid of it now

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calibanddarkbane
Posted by calibanddarkbane July 02, 2010 at 19:51
Lib dem MP Chris Hulne sent me this before the election

Thank you for your email regarding the Digital Economy Bill.
The Liberal Democrrats have been highly critical about the so called
“wash-up” process which has enabled this Bill to pass with limited
Parliamentary scrutiny before the General Election. The “wash-up” of
the Digital Economy Bill was essentially a carve up between the Labour and
Conservative parties that ignored Liberal Democrat arguments to consult
more widely before introducing a measure to introduce web-blocking for
copyright infringement. Liberal Democrats voted against the Bill at 3rd
Reading in the House of Commons and against the Labour and Conservatives
web-blocking amendment in both the Lords and the Commons. I did not vote on
the Bill as I had constituency business in Eastleigh.

I remain to be convinced about the necessity for technical measures, which
could include disconnection from the internet. The Liberal Democrats were
successful in getting the Government to agree to a period of at least a
year in which no technical measures can be considered and then to undertake
a process of rigorous analysis and consultation into the need for any such
measures. We also believe that the music, film and other content industries
must work more urgently to develop easy and affordable ways for people to
legally access their products.

The recent Liberal Democrat conference in March voted to establish a party
working group to look into further detail about the issues raised by the
Bill.

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andor9x
Posted by andor9x July 02, 2010 at 20:40
I agree with this idea completely

as an internet gamer who uses the popular platform "steam"; the DEA effectively may be used to make this platform which is a pay-for-game service illegal even though users are paying for their content

I allow my friends to use my wireless connection when they are playing games via steam anything they may do inside or outside steam could be used to disconnect me

the DEA is a shambles; the law was passed through the old Parliament unfairly; this law only represents the business world and was passed by MP's who are put in their seats by the public for the public;

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neiledavies
Posted by neiledavies July 02, 2010 at 21:08
This was a rushed through law campaign for by media companies, in it's present state its ill thoughout and a mess. Needsrepealing and a fair alternative introducing.

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fourcheeze
Posted by fourcheeze July 02, 2010 at 22:18
This one really has to go.

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kev
Posted by kev July 02, 2010 at 22:31
Repeal this bill, retain 'net neutrality' and rewrite the copyright bill so it is used in the way it is meant to be used, instead of a means by which the entertainment industries can spy on, then prosecute individuals under the pretence of copyright infringement being committed, keep their strangle hold on the way various media types is released and line the pockets of overpaid executives without rewarding fully the artists.put the onus on those industries to move into the digital age and make media available for download at fast speeds, drm free and sensibly priced and not expect others (eg ISPs and search engines) to pay for policing the internet on their behalf.

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styryx
Posted by styryx July 03, 2010 at 00:34
In developed countries broadband should be a right!

The digital economy bill should be that: a digital economy bill! If people are downloading illegal things then the digital economy bill should say that if there is no alternative legal source available online, either through purchasing (to download and/or stream) or advert supported, then there is no foul. Thus the onus is on the content produced to get with the times and support a digital economy.

Restricting online content is backwards and anti-digital economy!

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marypcb
Posted by marypcb July 03, 2010 at 01:53
revert to the original, coherent version of the Bill before the expensive and unworkable provisions to scan all Internet access to protect a media industry that has refused to modernise its business models. Respect the findings of the commission and the original consultatnt, not the gerrymandered version that was rshed through. I make my living by copyright and I oppose this law utterly - we need to grow the digital economy, not strangle it for an industry that can't keep up.

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Maverick
Posted by Maverick July 03, 2010 at 08:49
Don’t let them get away with this! Just say NO to invasion of YOUR privacy! And for what?! Just to protect the profits of a private corporation at the ex[ense of the human public. A corporation only cares about ONE thing! Yes, PROFITS! A corporation has no beating human heart. No Mercy. You wouldn’t hold the FORD motor company responsible if someone robbed a bank while using a FORD. Same thing. they want to make the ISPs police the internet to protect their profits! How greedy and just plain evil. Don’t stand for it! Organize now! start handing out pamphlets door to door. They MUST NOT get away with this. The people have the voting power. You can make a difference.

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imrae
Posted by imrae July 03, 2010 at 10:34
There are too many technical problems with this act; placing high requirements and easily-circumvented. Only a group as technically naive and selfish as Big Media could ever believe that it would work, and they don't care about the problems it creates for everyone else.

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G0blinQueen
Posted by G0blinQueen July 03, 2010 at 10:44
Access to the Internet is becoming more and more of a necessity to conduct day-to-day tasks such as paying bills, looking up information (local Government services, for example!) and communications. To provide unaccountable commercial entities with the power to disconnect people from this ubiquitous part of everyday life is wrong. Also - copyright violation for personal non-profit purposes is a civil matter - NOT a criminal act. Please stop using incendiary and incorrect terminology at the behest of the media corporations.

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michaeljamestaylor
Posted by michaeljamestaylor July 03, 2010 at 11:06
ISPs are not police. Innocent until proven guilty.

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leeleeds
Posted by leeleeds July 03, 2010 at 11:40
You should never have to prove your innocence, agree that this has to be repealed.

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craigthaagensen
Posted by craigthaagensen July 03, 2010 at 12:05
repeal it, this law was blatantly pushed through for big business interests and not for the average voter and represents an unfair intrusion into personal privacy for big busineeses financial gain on which the public is left with the bill of enforcing.

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luke
Posted by luke July 03, 2010 at 12:58
I was sickened by the way this act was brought in.

It does nothing to ensure that we have a progressive digital economy, but it does a great deal to ensure that old-business can maintain it's power.

Democracy should not be for sale. I don't think lobbyists should have more of a say than the people of Britain.

This is very much a lobbyists' act.

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Sticky
Posted by Sticky July 03, 2010 at 13:28
Revert to the original, this is an absolute joke!

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Kazamx
Posted by Kazamx July 03, 2010 at 14:23
This law needs to be reversed or at the very least looked at properly. It was passed during the dying days of the last parliament and hasn't been scrutinised properly.

The Government needs to show that freedom is more important than protecting old men in charge of old companies who aren't prepared to adapt their business models to the demands of the public.

Show the people pursing ACTA forward in secret that we wont go along with that, this or anything else that limits our freedoms.

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SplittingDistant
Posted by SplittingDistant July 03, 2010 at 14:29
There's not enough space to list why it's wrong, and how it's wrong.

It's just pants.

Scrap it.

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hmitchell
Posted by hmitchell July 03, 2010 at 14:45
Repeal this Bill, it is unworthy of the name.

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RichB
Posted by RichB July 03, 2010 at 15:55
An overly complex and unworkable law, pushed through by Mandelson at the behest of the record industry in defence of their outdated method of doing business.

It should be repealed as soon as possible.

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Eddymac
Posted by Eddymac July 03, 2010 at 16:12
This Act has to be repealed - It was undemocratically rushed through Parliament in the "washup" without sufficient scrutiny. While part of the Act is regarding the digital TV switchover, other sections allow for people to be restricted or disconnected from the Internet at the behest of copyright owners, which goes against the principle of 'innocent until proven guilty' that has been in place since the Magna Carta."

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alan
Posted by alan July 03, 2010 at 16:59
the way this law is written we could end up like China or Australia in regards to the internet, this law is by far one of the most draconian that was rushed in by the Houses of Parliament, we should follow Iceland's example.

repeal this minute !

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HenryKitt
Posted by HenryKitt July 03, 2010 at 17:18
To those that know anything about the Bill (and now the Act) there’s:

No clear, defendable and respectable process to passing the Act

Forceful and miss-representative lobbying from big business

Mistaken, inaccurate and one-sided research sits behind the entire proposition for the Act

The entire procedure proposed is one-sided. The only people to benefit from its passage will be dodgy little letter (mailmerge) services that threaten people. There is a near ‘0’ marginal cost of SPAMMING the country with threatening letters and taking a punt on those that will pay to make a threat go away. All it represents is another waste of our time in this country.
Why should we citizens spend our entire limited free-time dealing with more crap like this that our government is just serving up under our noses. This country is failing because no one is listening to the individuals living here. MAKE this website work and start by seeing just how much this Act represents everything that has been (and still is) wrong with or Administrative processes.

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cwoollard
Posted by cwoollard July 03, 2010 at 17:21
This should never have become law. It was rushed through before the election.

It is undemocratic and plays into the hands of media companies.

Such people should join the 21st century and find mew and innovative ways of doing things, rather than putting their head in the sand and pretending that it is still the dark ages.

chris
  

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md1500
Posted by md1500 July 03, 2010 at 19:16
This law will only penalise the innocent. The hardcore pirates will be tech-savvy enough to encrypt their internet traffic and avoid any threat of disconnection.

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tads
Posted by tads July 03, 2010 at 19:19
Mention has been made of the undemocratic nature of this legislation. 'nuff said. Its file-sharing clauses also serve the interests of an industry that is more concerned with protectionism and scare-mongering (remember the old 'home taping is killing music' nonsense of a few years ago) than in moving with the times. Given their unworkable nature - encryption of IP addresses, unscrupulous law companies making a mint out of entrapment, etc., etc. - these clauses should be repealed in their entirety and content providers encouraged to get round the table with ISP's to provide new ways of selling their content. For example, I suspect many subscribers would be more than happy to pay an additional cost to download music, etc. on a regular basis. If a subscriber doesn't want such a service, they should be able to opt out. Given that research suggests that many downloaders also buy the most music, this legislation threatens to alienate some of music industry's best customers. Of all the bad ideas that emerged during the tale end of the last government, the Digital Economy Act is one of the baddest.

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Kordox
Posted by Kordox July 03, 2010 at 20:32
This bill needs to be repealed immediately.

It was forced through parliament at the last minute, without proper scrutiny or debate, no doubt due to huge amounts of lobbying from the entertainment industry.

It consists almost entirely of penalties for people who do things that upset the entertainment industry (including the "3-strikes" rule that allows your entire household to be cut off from the internet if anyone who lives in your house is accused of copyright infringement, without proof, evidence or trial). Not only that, but it gives the government the ability to block websites. Should government really be given the power to control the World Wide Web?

The man in charge of pushing this through (Stephen Timms, former Financial Secretary to the Treasury) doesn't even know what an IP address is (stated in a letter that it was an "Intellectual Property address").

Our digital economy is more important than that! Keep the net neutral and ensure everyone has access to high speed broadband.

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steve_a_j
Posted by steve_a_j July 03, 2010 at 21:56
The power to censor the web is the worrying part of this legislation, its sets a very worrying precedent. It is also yet another contravention of the concept innocent until proven guilty

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intelligence
Posted by intelligence July 04, 2010 at 13:51
People always seem to overlook the clause that allows websites to be BLOCKED, weather they have now or MAY HAVE IN THE FUTURE illegal content on, s this is CENSORCHIP, repeal the whole damn act and never bring it up again all it benefits is the record companies and government when it wants to censor things, and for your info people it will be abused to censor, just like anti terror laws are abused daily ask the 12 year old who was searched under anti terror laws.

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intelligence
Posted by intelligence July 04, 2010 at 13:53
People always seem to overlook the clause that allows websites to be BLOCKED, weather they have now or MAY HAVE IN THE FUTURE illegal content on, s this is CENSORSHIP, repeal the whole damn act and never bring it up again all it benefits is the record companies and government when it wants to censor things, and for your info people it will be abused to censor, just like anti terror laws are abused daily ask the 12 year old who was searched under anti terror laws.

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Jeff3
Posted by Jeff3 July 04, 2010 at 16:19
Great, lets just kill off shared internet connections, open the door to censorship and potentialy block innocent sites just because the fatcats in the music industry can't be bothered to sort out their own mess and are always looking for someone else to blame for their own shortcommings.

This bill needs to go, if not such things as open wi-fi, being able to not have to constantly monitor what everyone on your connection is doing 24/7 and even sites like youtube (remember even though it trys to control it, copyrighted material still ends up there) can be kissed goodbye.

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mcdowella
Posted by mcdowella July 05, 2010 at 05:57
This act was brought in without proper discussion, and with even most of its supporters doing as much as they could to disclaim their involvement. The government should put repeal it. If such an act is necessary, its supporters should have the courage to explain its justification in the open and stake their reputations on the benefits they claim it will bring.

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Dabeer
Posted by Dabeer July 05, 2010 at 10:26
Apart from being an ill-conceived and rushed bill. We have already seen "witch" hunts by the likes of Davenport Lyons and Logistep "on behalf" of copywrite holders. This will open the flood gates even further.

It has been demonstrated already that wide-scale harvesting of IPs results "fishing". I.e threatening letters and harassment requesting a few hundred pounds or you will be taken to court. Often, if the defendent stands thier ground, the case is dropped just before the court appearance. It has even been suggested that court prosecution will only take place if the prosecuters know that the defendent will not turn up!

The scenario is this. You have a family (wife/husband, 2-3 children) and one of these letters arrives on your doorstep. Weeks ensue of harassing letters, money demands and threats but you didn't download anything illegal. You are targeted because your name appears on the bill for that IP address.
  Maybe your wife or children downloaded something they should not have. Or, more probably, your IP gets added to a list of thousands of others because of a typing error or software bug.

This act, as it currently stands, must be repealed and reconsidered in a form that actually protects copywrite rather than encouraging entrapment and harassment for financial gain.

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Lucy
Posted by Lucy July 05, 2010 at 10:49
It's time the British public stopped parroting the adage; "If you are not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about" and started to realise that if you are not doing anything wrong you should not need to be watched.

Every facet of this act essentially criminalises every internet user in Britain. It's phone-tapping for the 21st century. As if this was not disturbing enough, the increase in the powers of government censorship make this legislation totally unacceptable in a country which believes itself to be free and democratic.

Regardless of where you stand on piracy and copyright, this act strips away our freedom of information and right to privacy - to my mind these are very much more fundamental ethics. The DEA must be got rid of in its entirety.

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skaffen
Posted by skaffen July 05, 2010 at 12:01
This law was introduced in order to stimulate and support Britain's 'digital economy'. It is absolutely laughable that they intend to do this by throttling and disconnecting the very population who make up the online economy, never mind the far reaching effects of not having access to all of the essential information and services the internet provides.

It was introduced by a powerful industry driven lobbying effort, intentionally timed to occur during the 'wash-up' period so that the standard democratic process was bypassed. In other words it is a complete disgrace and must be repealed until parliament can properly debate the law, as should have happened in the first place.

In its current form there are potentially disastrous consequences. Disconnecting entire households for the infringement of a single member is a serious form of collective punishment which cannot be permitted.

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PHPAdam
Posted by PHPAdam July 05, 2010 at 13:08
Im Adam Hosker, and I support this Repeal.

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rddyer
Posted by rddyer July 05, 2010 at 20:01
I felt that the unseemly rush to push this bill through in the dying hours of an unpopular government was outrageous. Government is supposed to be for the benefit of the people, not for the benefit of special interest groups - or to pander to foreign interest groups.

Why does copyright always increase in length, not reduce in length. The purpose of copyright is to strike a balance between the rights of the owner and the rights of users; to encourage innovation without stifling freedom. In my opinion freedom has been the poor relation in this contract - and this bill needed severe review - not special advancement.

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rddyer
Posted by rddyer July 05, 2010 at 20:02
I felt that the unseemly rush to push this bill through in the dying hours of an unpopular government was outrageous. Government is supposed to be for the benefit of the people, not for the benefit of special interest groups - or to pander to foreign interest groups.

Why does copyright always increase in length, not reduce in length. The purpose of copyright is to strike a balance between the rights of the owner and the rights of users; to encourage innovation without stifling freedom. In my opinion freedom has been the poor relation in this contract - and this bill needed severe review - not special advancement.

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marvin96
Posted by marvin96 July 06, 2010 at 12:29
We should not be paying for or supporting legislation which only aims at creating more profit for private companies and individuals. The whole emphasis of this law is predicated on the assumption that one is automatically guilty based on "proof" which is very spurious.

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squareroot1764
Posted by squareroot1764 July 06, 2010 at 19:05
This law should never have been passed. The innocent will be punished and the guilty will inevitably find ways around it, not to mention the undemocratic means it was passed in the first place.

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squareroot1764
Posted by squareroot1764 July 06, 2010 at 19:05
This law should never have been passed. The innocent will be punished and the guilty will inevitably find ways around it, not to mention the undemocratic means it was passed in the first place.

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alan
Posted by alan July 06, 2010 at 21:16
should never have become law in the first place, only because Mandelson was asked to do it on a movie producers ship (dreamworks SKG) a few years ago.

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synagence
Posted by synagence July 06, 2010 at 21:58
Terrible laws rushed though without due process are an insult to the country

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rolson
Posted by rolson July 09, 2010 at 19:52
It was obscene how such a law was rushed through Parliament, without proper debate by our elected representatives.

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ollybus
Posted by ollybus July 11, 2010 at 10:52
It goes against British ideals that a person is presumed guilty and has to prove their innocence (this is the way many justice systems work elsewhere in the world including some members of the EU). We should NOT have laws like this; so it should be repealed

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CitizenKane
Posted by CitizenKane July 12, 2010 at 12:44
Repeal this law. Instead, make laws that punish politicians for pandering to special interest groups!

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jackiep
Posted by jackiep July 22, 2010 at 05:38
Really hope they see sense and repeal this. It was rushed through and not given proper consideration at all.

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exile001
Posted by exile001 July 25, 2010 at 17:29
Sections of the Digital Economy Act are transparently skewed to benefit a small number of very large companies, yet it's the people of the UK who will ultimately pay for it.
I am also firmly against the proposed switch off of analogue Radio. DAB simply isn't picking up in the numbers that Digital TV is, the future for "radio" broadcasting is through the internet.

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pjaj
Posted by pjaj July 27, 2010 at 11:04
I've voted in favour of this idea not because I'm in favour of intellectual property theft, but because it's an ill thought out, hastily drafted piece of legislation which can penalise the innocent and the "small" offender disproportionately, whilst the organised pirates can easily evade detection and copyright.

It seems to me that it was bought in to appease large media companies who are unwilling to bring their business model into the 21st century and want to preserve the lucrative status quo.

What is really needed is a system whereby you can try before you buy both for music, video and software. In the first two cases maybe you could download part (33%?) of the track / film for free and get the whole thing only by paying for it. This would have the added advantage that the honest customers wouldn't have to pay only to find they've bought rubbish.

There is already a perfectly good shareware model for software. You can download and use it either for 30 days or with limited functionality, but have to pay if you want unlimited use.

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