Last week 1709 blogger John Enser wrote about the initial copy of the Digital Economy bill, with a particular focus on Clause 17, which he described as follows:
"Clause 17 - this is essentially open book for the Secretary of State at BIS (or whatever department is responsible for copyright policy from time to time) to re-write Part I of the CDPA "for the purpose of preventing or reducing the infringement of copyright by means of the internet, if it appears to the Secretary of State appropriate to do so having regard to technological developments that have occurred or are likely to occur"."
This week Facebook, Google, Yahoo! and eBay (described in some reports as "internet companies" and in others as "web giants") have written an open letter to Lord Mandelson (the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills), urging him to remove clause 17 from the Digital Economy Bill. The letter argues that clause 17 gives the Secretary of State unprecedented and sweeping powers, and is so wide that it could put at risk legitimate use of current technology and could discourage future innovation.
The Digital Economy Bill had its second reading in the House of Lords on 2 December 2009 and enters its committee stage on 6 January 2010.
Source and more here: BBC News online, 2 December 2009.