The passing of the Digital Economy Bill in the Commons last night has unsurprisingly angered many groups, including internet service providers (ISPs), digital rights campaigners and political parties from all sides of the House.
The Bill was rushed through last night despite widespread complaints about a lack of scrutiny.It contains powers to force ISPs to disconnect citizens accused of illegal file sharing and reveal the names of those citizens if pressed, and also raises the possibility of copyright law being changed in future without proper scrutiny.
Also passed were provisions allowing a future secretary of state to use regulations to seek a court injunction to block any web 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".
TalkTalk executive director Andrew Heaney wrote in a blog post that his company will refuse to disconnect any customers alleged to have shared copyrighted material, and will take the matter to court if necessary.
"TalkTalk will continue to battle against these oppressive proposals. Unless we are served with a court order, we will never surrender a customer's details to rights holders," he said.
"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 file sharers will simply switch to other undetectable methods to get content for free."
Nicholas Lansman, secretary general of the Internet Service Providers' Association, said in a statement that the group is "extremely disappointed" by the way the Bill had been pushed through parliament and the measures it contained.
"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," he said.
"Despite the inclusion of some safeguards that have improved the clauses on unlawful peer-to-peer file sharing, the case for the technical obligations contained in Clauses 11-17 is yet to be made."
Lansman also believes that the legislation is "disproportionate" and " unworkable", and will serve only to "preserve failing business models and prevent new innovative lawful models of distributing content online".
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