The Digital Economy Act unlikely to be repealed under new government

The Digital Economy Act is unlikely to see any changes under the new government.

Commenting on paidcontent.co.uk, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt claimed that the act will not be repealed, with the coalition instead waiting to see how the act's measures perform and, if alterations or something more is needed, take action later.

This will mean that the controversial three strikes legislation introduced by former business secretary Lord Peter Mandelson will remain in place.

The Open Rights Group, who protested against the proposed moves to cut off persistent file sharers, claimed that almost 5,500 had signed a petition asking for a repeal of the act.

Speaking to SC Magazine, Open Rights Group executive director Jim Killock said: “I think that consultation is going on right at the moment looking at the cost implications and Ofcom is looking at how to send letters out and we are involved with the meetings and it is clear that it is ill thought out and it will not take long to figure out why.

“Jeremy Hunt does not have time to sit through dozens of Ofcom meetings, and he will find out how unworkable and what a badly thought out piece of legislation it is. The problem is not going to go away.”

Meanwhile the news was greeted with approval from software industry body the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST). It claimed that the latest piracy figures show that the UK faces software piracy rates of 27 per cent, costing the UK software industry alone £1.096 million every year.

John Lovelock, chief executive of FAST, said: “This is great news for the software industry, long struggling with internet piracy, together with other intellectual property rights holders.

“Our hope is that the graduated response provisions of this act will be proportionate and drive traffic towards legitimate downloads. At this time of economic pressure this is great news for the country too, since more legitimate sales will mean more tax revenue and more workers in employment - everyone wins.”

Lovelock claimed that the UK now has an online culture of ‘free', even when it is not, and this harms the companies working to produce generally expensive and high quality software.

“For users there is a risk that malware, including viruses, may be downloaded rather than the desired product. The provisions of the act must be allowed to have a chance to work for benefits to be seen,” said Lovelock.

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