Lib Dem MP: ISPs shouldn’t pay for piracy clampdown

A member of the coalition government has spoken out against plans to make ISPs pay 25% of the costs of policing internet piracy.

Lib Dem MP: ISPs shouldn't pay for piracy clampdown

Earlier this week, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills ruled that ISPs should pay a quarter of the costs of the Government’s piracy busting system, which was set up as part of the Digital Economy Act.

They are looking for a way of short-cutting the process, with someone else paying

ISPs and consumer groups have criticised the move, but their concerns have now been echoed by a Government politician. Liberal Democrat MP, Julian Huppert, suggested he would be putting pressure on colleagues to review the plans.

“We’ll have to see what we can do with that,” the MP for Cambridge told PC Pro. “The proposals were announced by BIS, but it is clearly not appropriate that the ISPs should be paying – it should be the rights holders.”

Huppert said there was already a legal process through the courts for rights holders seeking damages over copyright, and he claimed rights holders were being given too much sway in the proposed process.

“The rights holders have always been able to take action if they choose and making it wider only favours them, so it’s right that they should pay,” he said. “They are looking for a way of short-cutting the process, with someone else paying.”

Dumping legislation

Huppert is chairing a Liberal Democrat working party set up this week to look into the digital economy and said the committee hoped to influence the way the Digital Economy Act was applied when parliament votes on the final details.

Highly critical of some sections of the Act and the way it was “rushed through during the wash-up” at the end of the last parliament, Huppert said he intended to seek amendments to parts of the act.

He said he was particularly unhappy with sections that could see consumers cut off from the internet if they are found guilty of downloading illegal material three times in a year.

“There are two things that we could still do to change the parts of it that we don’t support,” Huppert said. “Parts of the Act still have to be voted through by parliament, so we can try and reject or amend certain parts.

“If that isn’t possible, we could see if we can use the Freedom Bill, which is designed to get rid of illiberal legislation and will be published in either October or November.”

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