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Lords object to Mandelson's Section 17

Digital Economy Bill sparks peers’ protest

Several peers have called for Section 17 to be removed from the government’s Digital Economy Bill.

According to V3.co.uk, during the bill’s second reading in the House of Lords, Lord Lucas urged fellow peers to vote against Section 17, while Lord Razzall said it "gives the government the power to alter copyright law by statutory instrument and should be rejected".

"I think if we are going to alter copyright law it has to be done by primary legislation, rather than statutory instrument," he added.

In Lord Mandelson’s opening address to the House he reportedly claimed Section 17 – ‘Power to amend copyright provisions’ – had been included to reflect the changing nature of the digital environment, and that "any use of the power would require full public consultation followed by approval of both Houses of Parliament”.

Lord Mandelson also insisted that his controversial disconnection policy would only be used as a last resort.

"Infringers would have clear and ample warning of the risks they appear to be taking, and will have been advised clearly on how to access material legally," he said, adding that there would be an independent route of appeal during any disconnection process.

Yesterday, internet giants Google, Yahoo, Facebook and eBay sent an open letter to Lord Mandelson urging him to remove Section 17 from the Digital Economy Bill.

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