Controversial UK anti-piracy law finally passed

The Open Rights Group made no bones about its views on the passing of the UK’s controversial Digital Economy Bill as law yesterday, using this one-finger salute to rally web users to fight the act.
 
The group, which bills itself as a defender of civil liberties on the internet, says it needs the public’s help to battle elements of the new law that could see persistent illegal file sharer’s cut-off from the internet, and allow the government to monitor citizen’s web usage.
 
Jim Killock, executive director of ORG, called for the public to harry prospective MPs to overturn the law in the run-up to a general election on May 6, and to organise independent campaigns against the act.
 
Killock criticised the speed with which the bill was passed in a blog post, claiming it had gone through parliament “with no real scrutiny and limited debate.”
 
He added that the ruling Labour party curtailed a debate on amendments proposed by rebel MPs in conjunction with colleagues from the Liberal Democrats, meaning the “bill proceeded without dealing with any of the substantive issues.”
 
The controversial bill was passed following a second reading in the house of Lord’s yesterday, despite fierce opposition from the ORG, telcos and ISPs to clauses that allow law courts to suspend user’s web access.
 
Although the bill is designed to cut down on piracy, those groups argue it will have little impact beyond restricting user’s rights.
 
In contrast, music industry groups have welcomed the law, with several stating it clears the way for further action to cut down on piracy of copyrighted material, The Guardian reports.
 
The opposition Conservative Party has already pledged to review aspects of the law if it wins the election, despite conceding that action is necessary to combat piracy.

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