Feeds

Mandybill: All the Commons drama

Web-blocking goes through, orphan works fails

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Live TV and internet coverage allowed the nation to feel grubby as the Mandybill was shunted through the House of Commons late last night. The government’s replacement for Clause 18 – a catch-all illiberal web-blocking measure that few in the music business ever expected to survive – was approved, and the photographers cemented a spectacular victory by crushing the orphan works clause.

But not before a bit of spirited resistance – or token posturing – take your pick, for it in truth it was a bit of both, to the copyright infringement clauses by Tom Watson, Austin Mitchell, Bill Cash and other backbenchers.

Almost universally the MPs who spoke objected to the bill being rammed through in a sort of procedural speed-dating, at the very death of Parliament. Even stalwart copyright supporters such as John Hemming, a BPI member, and LibDem frontbencher Don Foster condemned the scheduling. Foster said the government’s whips could have timetabled a Commons debate three weeks earlier, but had left MPs kicking their heels.

Watson proposed a number of probing amendments - ie ones designed to be withdrawn - before duly withdrawing them all. The first of these, which would have decriminalised online file sharing except for commercial infringers, took almost an hour to debate. While it gave MPs a chance to vent before a sizeable crowd following on Twitter, it exhausted most of the time available.

On Twitter, the probing amendments caused some confusion

Foster said that it “was disgraceful a bill of this complexity is given so little time” to be debated, explaining: “That’s why so many of us are in such a difficult position. [Watson] has raised important probing amendments.”

He regretted the time didn’t allow orphan works to be discussed, but then nobody mentioned the ludicrous timetable for radio switchover. Or radio at all. Not once.

The government’s promise of a “superaffirmative” procedure in the next Parliament (commencing mid-May) may not have won over any rebels, but perhaps staunched any defections. The procedure means leftover legislation is subject to a further 60 days' scrutiny.

So the Digital Economy Bill was passed by 189 to 47 votes at 11:18pm. The web-blocking provision was the only clause to go to a division, where it was carried 197:40. Clause 43 fell on a voice vote.

Apart from blaming the Labour Party for rotten scheduling, the Conservatives were quiet. Tory spokesman Ed Vaizey mocked the “extraordinary bleating” of the Labour worrywarts, and didn’t think much of Watson’s amendments, which he said were “scribbled on the back of an envelope at 100 mbits/second.

“It is pathetic for the Labour benches to say that the three hours is nothing to do with them. They are responsible for the lack of scrutiny.”

In turn, Watson wasn’t impressed with The Honourable Edward Vaizey, and said he could have done some scrutinising of his own.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.