London – Britain’s lower
house of Parliament has passed a controversial Digital Economy bill with
provisions intact that will potentially suspend the Internet connections of
repeat file-swappers. The bill will see Internet service providers send warning
letters to subscribers suspected of illegal file-sharing at the behest of
copyright holders; if subscribers fail to heed several warnings, they could
face slowed down or suspended Internet service.
Critics have noted that the
bill as written could have a detrimental affect on public Wi-Fi hotspots, as
the account holder of an Internet connection would be charged in copyright
Another provision that would have made "orphaned" copyright
works more easy to license was removed from the bill, while a provision that
would require ISPs to block sites that offer unauthorized content will need
further approval after a May 6 election in Britain.
The Digital Economy bill
will be further addressed by parliament, but could become law within days, as
lawmakers speed to finish business before the break for elections.