FAST backs speedy passing of Digital Economy Bill

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FAST backs speedy passing of Digital Economy Bill

Simon Quicke

As the Digital Economy Bill enters its final stages before being made law heading back to the House of Commons for its third reading those representing the software industry have called for speed with passing the legislation.

The prospect of the Bill becoming law before a general election is highly likely if it can get through the Commons without too many delays after finally being passed by the Lords at the start of the week.

"Delaying the legislation unnecessarily in the Commons will not help. The Bill has had the scrutiny in the Lords to excess. FAST has lobbied for intellectual property legislation since its inception in 1984," said John Lovelock, chief executive of FAST.

The debates about the powers the government might seek to block access for users deemed to have infringed copyright have been rumbling on since the Bill first appeared and could resurface in the third reading.

Lovelock said that the three strikes rule that allowed the government to suspend illegal file sharers' web connections was getting its backing.

"The software industry and other copyright holders in the wider creative industry welcome the attention that is being focused on copyright issues in this digital age," he added.

He acknowledged the concerns of those campaigning against the bill but commented:  "There are checks and balances in place being eminently sensible given the rapid pace in digital technology and the difficulties in protecting intellectual property."

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