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Repeal the Digital Economy Act

Comment 2nd July 2010

Protection of commercial rights is a necessity, but the Digital Economy Bill was ill thought out and will cause unintended consequences.  Too much was attempted under the umbrella of a single bill. 

I suggest that the DEA be repealed and the provisions of the Act be subsequently dealt with by modification of existing copyright laws and perhaps pornography laws. 

I understand Lord Mandelson's concern to curtail the downloading of copyrighted material without payment, but the DEA is a massive steamhammer to crack a nut. 

Why does this matter?

When public libraries withdraw their provision of Internet access due to the impossibility of monitoring every user's activity; when motorway service areas withdraw provision of free wifi due to similar considerations, you will see why the DEA has unwanted consequences – and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

All MPs that took part in that hurried wash-up debate before the recent General Election know that the provisions of the DEA were not properly scrutinised or thought-out.  For the sake of the reputation of Parliament if nothing else, repeal this Act and start again at a later date. 

By starting again and breaking down the sections included in the DEA into smaller parts covered by separate legislation, better law will result.

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