The Internet industry is speaking out with outrage at the passing of the Digital Economy Bill, now Digital Economy Act after passing into UK law, with key figures voicing their concerns at the measures that have been put in place. With talk of this driving our Internet toward a filtered state such as in China, it is no surprise that even Google has spoken out against this new law rushed through by the UK government.
"The proposals to introduce website blocking - now included in Clause 8 - have escaped proper scrutiny. They were introduced 24 hours before a crucial vote in the House of Lords, without a full debate over whether such a policy is right in principle.
We absolutely believe in the importance of copyright, but blocking through injunction creates a high risk that legal content gets mistakenly blocked, or that people abuse the system."Google statement
"O2 supports the important principle of protecting copyright but we believe the new legal requirements for internet service providers to send warning letters - and if they don't work take more serious action, including disconnecting customers - are a red herring.
The internet has brought about profound changes to the way we all live and work. New companies and industries have been created, and many long established companies have embraced the internet and are thriving in the new digital age. Others have found out the hard way what happens when you fail to move with the times.
It may sound harsh but that's life in a market economy and that's what happens when a technology revolution takes place. Some people vainly try to prop up the old system - like the luddites who smashed up the mechanical looms during the industrial revolution - while others recognise that change is inevitable and adapt to a new model.
The real solution to unlawful file sharing is not to send threatening letters or to cut people off from the internet. It is to come up with new products and services that give consumers the content they want, how they want it, and for a fair price.
So our message to the music company and film industry lobbyists who have been campaigning so hard for this change in the law is simple: you've got what you wanted. Now wake up, smell the coffee, and start really focusing on giving customers what they want."Felix Geyr, Head of O2 Home and Broadband
TalkTalk who have been strongly against plans to disconnect broadband users are sticking to their guns.
"Many draconian proposals remain such as the responsibility on customers to protect their home networks from hacking at a collective cost of hundreds of millions of pounds a year, the presumption that they are guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent and, as in China, the potential for legitimate search engines and websites to be blocked.
This is made all the more appalling by the ability of big music and film companies to influence government and the absence of any proper debate or scrutiny by MPs – only 5% of MPs turned up for the brief debate yesterday and the other important Parliamentary stages will be bypassed in the wash-up process.
TalkTalk will continue to battle against these oppressive proposals – they will require 'secondary legislation' before they can be implemented.
After the election we will resume highlighting the substantial dangers inherent in the proposals and that the hoped for benefits in legitimate sales will not materialise as filesharers will simply switch to other undetectable methods to get content for free.
In the meantime we stand by our pledges to our customers:
- Unless we are served with a court order we will never surrender a customer's details to rightsholders. We are the only major ISP to have taken this stance and we will maintain it.
- If we are instructed to disconnect an account due to alleged copyright infringement we will refuse to do so and tell the rightsholders we’ll see them in court.Andrew Heaney, (Director of strategy and regulation) TalkTalk
"8th April 2010 - ISPA is extremely disappointed by the agreement between the Labour and Conservative front benches to push through the Digital Economy Bill despite serious concerns remaining about some clauses of the Bill, which have been recognised by MPs on all sides of the House. The decision to accept the Government amendment to clause 18, which enables the Secretary of State to make provisions about the granting of blocking injunctions by a court, is unacceptable given the lack of consultation on the impact of the clause.
Despite the inclusion of some safeguards that have improved the clauses on unlawful P2P filesharing, the case for the technical obligations contained in clauses 11-17 is yet to be made. It is with much regret that the majority of parliamentarians, with some notable exceptions, have been persuaded by copyright owners to forego the necessary parliamentary scrutiny in order to rush through legislation that in many ways is disproportionate, unworkable and will serve only to preserve failing business models and prevent new innovative lawful models of distributing content online."ISPA (Internet Service Providers Association)
At this stage we can only hope enough pressure will be put on the new government from the Internet industry after the election to force them to reconsider and re-write this new law.