Digital Economy Bill gets its second Commons reading

07 April 2010

Ben Bradshaw, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, moved the second reading of the Digital Economy Bill in the Commons. Jeremy Hunt, Shadow Media Secretary, opened for the Opposition

The Bill

The measure passed its second reading and the remaining Commons stages will be taken some time on Wednesday 7 April.

The Bill - which has already completed its passage through the House of Lords - implements aspects of Government policy on digital media set out in the Digital Britain White Paper published in June 2009.

Key areas:

  • imposes obligations on internet service providers to reduce online copyright infringement
  • extends the role of Ofcom to include reporting on communications infrastructure and media content
  • allows the Secretary of State to intervene in internet domain name registration
  • requires Channel Four to provide public service content on a range of media
  • provides more flexibility over the licensing of Channel 3 and Channel 5 services and allows Ofcom to appoint providers of regional and local news
  • modifies the licensing regime to facilitate switchover to digital radio
  • allows variation of the public service provision in Channel 3 and 5 licences
  • provides Ofcom with additional powers in relation to electromagnetic spectrum access
  • extends the range of video games that are subject to age-related classification
  • makes provision for the regulation of copyright licensing
  • includes non-print formats in the public lending right payment scheme

Wash-up

The Bill now goes into what is called the wash-up - the last few days of a Parliament after the election has been announced but before dissolution. All the unfinished business - mainly Bills which have not completed their passage - must be dealt with swiftly. The Government, in co-operation with the Opposition, agree to pass certain Bills. Some might be lost completely, others might be fast-tracked, but in a much-shortened form.

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