A HOUSE OF LORDS debate on the future of the Digital Economy Act has been shelved for unknown reasons.
There was a debate scheduled for next Monday, 8 October, but it has been cancelled according to DEA watcher and UK privacy campaigner, the Open Rights Group (ORG).
According to the Open Rights Group the meeting was to be a debate over DEA costs, both personal and business. It said that this is the second time that debate has been postponed, adding that it would have covered the controversial plans to charge people £20 for appeals against 'piracy' allegations.
In a blog post the Open Rights Group's Peter Bradwell speculates on the reasons for the delay. He said it could be because the government's department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is still mulling over a consultation on the DEA.
It could also be because the DEA is so complex and so widely opposed, he said. "The costs imposed on ISPs have very bizarre implications. Some costs may be excluded, say BT and others; the running costs will weigh heavily on some ISPs but not at all on others, giving some competitive advantages over others. BT's running costs would be fully covered," he said.
"The costs order encourages ongoing large scale letters, in the millions, each year, with no incentive to reduce numbers. Given the objective is a 75 per cent reduction on copyright infringement, success cannot be accommodated in the economics of the programme."
Alternatively it could just be that the government is considering dropping the DEA completely. Bradwell said that it and its letters would likely come into force in 2014, which is an election year. This, he speculated, could make the government rather unpopular.
"The DEA is straining credibility. [...] There are better ways to enforce copyright, educate users and encourage private investment in advertising and developing online content services," he added. "The DEA is a dead end from the fag end of an exhausted Parliament." µ
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