MPs approve Digital Economy Bill, voting 189 to 47

MPs approve Digital Economy Bill, voting 189 to 47

Summary: The Digital Economy Bill has been passed by the House of Commons, although without its clause on the licensing of orphan works.The bill, taken after 11pm on Wednesday night, went to a division vote after a few hours of argument and recrimination in the house of elected representatives.

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TOPICS: Telcos
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The Digital Economy Bill has been passed by the House of Commons, although without its clause on the licensing of orphan works.

The bill, taken after 11pm on Wednesday night, went to a division vote after a few hours of argument and recrimination in the house of elected representatives. Clause 43 was voted down before the final choice was made, with 189 voting for the bill and 47 against.

Most of those who voted had been waiting outside the Commons while the debate took place — before the final vote took place, the majority of those in the chamber opposed the bill.

The Digital Economy Bill is a wide-ranging package of legislation that saw a heavily truncated period of scrutiny in the Commons, due to the announcement on Tuesday of the general election on 6 May. Sections of the bill include a crackdown on copyright infringement that paves the way for alleged file-sharers to have their internet connections limited or suspended.

Clause 43 would have allowed the use of works for which no owner could be found. Photographers complained that this would have let commercial interests exploit photos found on sites such as Flickr, without paying.

Clause 18 of the bill was also taken out, but it was replaced with a new Clause 1, which has the same effect — to make it possible for ISPs to be forced to block access to websites that host copyrighted material. This has raised fears of a new wave of censorship in the UK — in Wednesday's debate, MPs pointed out that Wikileaks could be banned for leaking material which governments could claim as copyrighted, for example.

Topic: Telcos

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • what an utterly depressing result tonights 'debate' was. the Party Whips were oout in force, and clearly forced their members to toe the Party line. well done to Tom Watson for breaking the Whip & voting with his concsience!
    Addition shame must be heaped on Stephen Timms for all his dithering, eating up what little time was allowed for debate; I look forward to stealing a few of his votes in the forthcoming election!
    @...