Digital Economy Act 2010

While you were sleeping, I was following live yesterday's debates on the Digital Economy Bill as the session went on well past midnight. The papers will print their nonsense tomorrow, but you heard it from me first (or on any of the other innumerable blogs covering it). The bill has been worked on heavily by the Lords, came to the Commons very late in the last days of the hectic process called the washup, which is a system that kicks in just before a general election to let legislation be finished off and passed when it would otherwise be deferred it until at least September or much later. The quick news is that almost all of it passed, more than forty out of fifty clauses, but not including the slightly controversial clauses 18 and 43 covering respectively final sanctions for recalcitrant copyright abusers online, and freeing up orphaned works with no identifiable copyright holder.

The background is the widespread need for a concerted piece of law to cover all the things that need doing in primary legislation to advance all things digital. The most prominent area this applies in is copyright, but stacks of other stuff is covered. The bill is pretty good, has secured the backing of Labour, Conservatives, and the peers, and does mostly what we want it to do. I am pretty happy with it, in the end.

It was exciting to follow it through (I read the entire transcripts of the parliamentary debates!), and worth paying attention to. I have numerous thoughts about the washup process, the bill, and its various provisions as a result. Further posts may ensue.