Labour, Conservative and Green response to DEB/DEA Question
Following our article on the Lib Dem's view of the Digital Economy Act and that it should be "repealed, and the issues revisited", further response has been received from the other parties to the question posed by The Student Room.
As a reminder, the question asked was as follows:
"Will you reconsider the Digital Economy Bill considering the manner it was pushed through, without proper scrutiny, the lack of MPs in attendance at the Bill's hearing and also taking into account that some ministers have demonstrated considerable lack of technical knowledge on the consequences of the proposed legislation?"Question asked by students
The answers received are as follows.
"Our music, film and computer games industries are world leaders but they are under severe threat from piracy. The Bill is a considered response, after discussion with all parties, which offers a sanction of an internet suspension only for the most determined file-sharers and after repeated warnings.
I think students who have ambitions to work in the creative industries want to know that there will still be a career for them and a fair reward for the work that they do."Gordon Brown, Labour Party
"It's wrong that this Bill didn't get the scrutiny it deserved. But rejecting the Bill then or reconsidering the entire piece of legislation now would be an unacceptable set-back for the important measures it contains. Copyline infringement and internet piracy, for example, need to be addressed. So my party took the decision to seek to remove those clauses of the Digital Economy Bill that we did not support or feel received proper legislative scrutiny, while supporting the legislation as a whole. I'm confident that the way the legislation is drafted, thanks to Conservative amendments, means that we are by no means rushing in to action. For instance, the measures to tackle illegal peer-to-peer file sharing means that the temporary suspension of people's internet connection would only follow public consultation and repeated warnings."David Cameron, Conservative Party
"I completely agree with your analysis of the debacle surrounding the government's Digital Economy Bill. The Bill is a rash and ill-advised piece of legislation which was rushed through in the last few days of parliament – against the advice of industry experts and against the wishes of the many thousands of people who have campaigned against it online and elsewhere.
The Greens opposed aspects of the Bill as proposed by Lord Mandelson from the start, on the grounds that proposals to disconnect any account found to be illegally downloading or filesharing discriminated against other users on the same account – and failed to respect the individual's basic right to an internet connection in 21st century society.
In particular, we would seek to scrap clauses 11-18 of the DEB, which are technical measures relating to website blocking, account suspension and disconnection, on the basis that they have not been properly thought through.
Ultimately, legislation of this complexity should not be rushed; some of the proposals are sound, others are extremely hasty and potentially damaging, and cannot be easily reversed. Mandelson's attempts to shock and scare internet users into obeying copyright laws will backfire, and meanwhile undermine rights we all hold dear, including the right to be presumed innocent."Caroline Lucas, Green Party
It should come as no surprise really that Labour continue to back the bill that they pushed through parliament, and with Conservative support for this also in place, it is unlikely we'll see any changes to the Digital Economy Act with either Labour or Conservatives in power. The Green Party response follows similarly that of the Liberal Democrats who believe the Act is poorly thought through and implemented.
Ofcom are in the process of implementing a code of practice for the notification and disconnection of illegal file sharers. ISPs are to be consulted on this code, and some have already taken a proactive approach by sending suggestions for certain aspects through to Ofcom. We now hope that Ofcom see sense to create a code that is reasonable and fair.