Lib Dems Support Repeal of Digital Economy Act

As reported a month ago, a proposal condemning the Digital Economy Act (DEA) was indeed brought before the Liberal Democrats’ Autumn Conference this week.

The Liberal Democrats – the junior coalition member of the UK Government – were opposed to the legislation from the start and were the only major UK party to voice opposition to the Labour-led bill. Their coalition partners in the Conservative party had no official position on it.

The proposal (pdf) had two possible options – a broad opposing measure and a second more focused one.

Included in both proposals was the repeal of the disconnection provisions under sections 17 and 18 of the Act, measures which the government said they will not enforce, but which will remain in law.

The first option stood for the repeal of these areas, as well as the repeal of the notification system (sections 3-8). The limiting of internet connections, appeals and cost-sharing (sections 9-16) were put on hold in the latter option.

The proposal was passed on Monday with the first option, i.e the repealing of sections 3-18 of the Digital Economy Act.

“Tackling piracy is important, but it shouldn’t be seen as an end in itself. It’s more important to create conditions that reward innovation and talent, and ensure that creators get the benefits of their work,” said Cambridge MP Julian Huppert, the proposal’s author and Head of the Information Technology Working Group.

“The Digital Economy Act fails to do that; worse, it sorely lacks a convincing evidence base and real democratic legitimacy. I am delighted that Conference has passed this motion calling for the damaging parts of the Act to be repealed, and suggesting new ways for the digital economy to grow,” Huppert added.

It seems the ideas are percolating through that trying to sustain a 1970’s business model in 2011 is not going to work any more. Either that, or Lib Dems are afraid of going the way of Germany’s minority coalition party, The Free Democrats, who lost all their seats in Berlin this weekend, while Pirates romped home with 9%.


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