Queen outlines piracy crackdown plans

Parliament plans to make Britain more digital
Parliament plans to make Britain more digital

LONDON - The opening of Parliament today saw the Queen outlining plans to crackdown on internet piracy but making no mention of the proposed tax on phone lines or how universal broadband connection will be implemented.

Outlining the legislative agenda for the coming year, the Queen laid out some detail of the Digital Economy Bill, including a plan to tackle online copyright infringement through illegal file sharing, and make it compulsory for video games to have age ratings.

The aim of the bill is to "ensure communications infrastructure that is fit for the digital age, supports future economic growth, delivers competitive communications and enhances public service broadcasting".

No mention was made, however, of the mooted broadband tax of 50p a month on phone lines. There was also no explanation of how plans to ensure universal broadband access would be put in place today, but the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said more detail would be available on Friday when the bill is published.

Music and entertainment companies have been pushing for the file-sharing laws, which will see persistent offenders blocked from access the internet, but ISPs strenuously object to the plan, saying it unfairly puts the onus on them to act as police with all the benefit going elsewhere.

The government is planning a two-stage process, starting with an education campaign to warn people that it is illegal to download and share copyrighted material.

With a general election due to be called before June next year, it is widely expected that not all the legislation will be passed this parliament.


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