The government has no idea how much impending copyright legislation is likely to cost the UK economy.
The economic assessment for the Digital Economy Bill, released yesterday, does not give details on the cost of implementing Clause 18, a controversial method to stem piracy, proposed by the House of Lords last week.
Clause 18 will force ISPs to restrict access to web sites that host copyrighted content or those that make copyrighted content easily accessible to file-sharers. Critics have argued Clause 18 would hinder freedom of expression, competition and innovation.
The government is in such a rush to pass the Digital Economy Bill before the next general election that it is likely to only get two readings in the House of Commons before it heads for the “wash-ups” -- a period when Bills yet to be passed are speedily debated behind closed doors before parliament dissolves.
The Bill received its first reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday, two days after it emerged from the House of Lords. The government is obliged to give a full impact assessment of all potential legislation as it moves from one House to the other.
“The clause has not been subject to prior consultation and due to the limited time between the introduction of the clauses and the finalisation of the impact assessment, it has not been possible to assess the impact of these costs and benefits,” said the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills’ revised economic impact assessment.
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