Debate urged for Digital Economy Bill

Though it will no doubt be tough to put the just-announced General Election out of their minds, MPs will gather later today to discuss the controversial Digital Economy Bill – and critics of the Bill have urged Parliament to ensure that all sides of the debate are given a fair hearing.

The outspoken Open Rights Group in conjunction with campaign body 38 Degrees has taken out broadsheet advertisements today claiming that the public harbours major” concerns that the controversial legislation has been rushed through Parliament without the prerequisite level of debate.

The ORG claims that 20,684 people have, via its website, written to their MPs in protest of the Bill.

The element of the DEB that has drawn the biggest criticism is the powers it will grant authorities to shut down websites deemed to be guilty of sharing copyrighted material.

However, also included are wider-reaching provisions, such as granting legal power to PEGI ratings.

On the other side or the argument, the Creative Coalition Campaign – whose backers include many of the music industry’s largest companies – has taken out newspaper ads of its own today urging the public to get behind the DEB, stating that we need to act now before even more jobs come under threat”.

In its defence, the Government says that the Bill has been been extensively debated and scrutinised in the House of Lords, with seven days in Committee and three days in Report Stage”, a spokesperson for the Department of Business Innovation and Skills told the BBC.

The Bill spent three months in the House of Lords, and we have made significant amendments to strengthen and clarify it.”

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