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Digital Economy Bill clamps down on illegal downloaders

Following its third reading in the House of Commons, the Digital Economy Bill was passed by MPs last night.

189 votes to 49 meant the Bill was passed with relatively little opposition.

Opposition from the public and industry bodies, however, has been strong with over 20,000 voters writing to their MPs in the last seven days to lobby against the Bill being rushed through in its current format.

An amendment added to the Bill last night allows the Secretary of State for Business to block any site which “the court is satisfied has been, is being or is likely to be used for, or in connection with, an activity that infringes copyright”.

Having been involved in the Panorama programme on the Digital Economy Bill which was aired in March (view here), CYFOR found that individuals often didn’t realise the extent of their download activity and, in light of the potential law, what would be classed as illegal.

Our involvement with a recent case, working with Burrows Bussin in the defence of a 17-year-old arrested for copyright infringement, has also highlighted that prosecuting repeat download offenders is not perhaps as easy as anticipated.  The CPS dropped their case, partly due to the evidence provided by CYFOR regarding the technicalities in respect of the distribution of copyrighted material (read more).

Although the Bills now needs to go back to the House of Lords for final approval, this is seen to be largely a formality before it is passed into law.  So how will this affect you?  CYFOR’s top tips to avoid internet piracy should help – top tips.

The Digital Economy Bill –

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