What is the Digital Economy Act?
The Digital Economy Act is a statute passed by Parliament aimed at strengthening and protecting the "digital economy" - those bits of the economy based around the internet, emerging technologies and intellectual property. What this means in practise is that the Act tries to stomp down on piracy and provide a way for the government to easily modify copyright law to take into account new developments. The terms of the Digital Economy Act led to widespread criticism while it was pushed through Parliament; it was later passed during the "wash-up", when most MPs are not there, after pressure by entertainment companies.
The first bit - cutting down on piracy - is found in Sections 4-15 to the Act, and is commonly known as the "three strikes" law. This is commonly understood to mean that if somebody is found illegally downloading copyrighted content three times, the Secretary of State can make provisions requiring ISPs to sever their internet connection. In actual fact this is a misunderstanding; Sections 4-15 do not specify why someone can be disconnected, or how many "strikes" are required; instead they give the Secretary of State the power to order an ISP to disconnect somebody from the internet, for any reason, for any number of violations.
No legislative oversight for copyright reform
Harming innocent people
What is ORG doing?
- Sahota, Dawinderpal, "Entertainment Companies Finally Embrace The Net", Computing (5 August 2010).
- Davey, Francis Digital Economy Bill - A First Look