Internet giants Google, Facebook, eBay UK and Yahoo have joined forces to fight one of the measures in the Government’s proposed Digital Economy Bill. In a joint letter to business secretary Lord Mandelson, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook and eBay have expressed “grave concerns” about plans in the Digital Economy Bill to give ministers powers to amend copyright law without primary legislation.
The US groups wrote: “The industry as a whole had hoped that the outcome of Digital Britain would be a clear, workable set of principles by which the industry could operate. On the contrary, Clause 17 creates uncertainty for consumers and businesses and puts at risk the UK’s leading position in a digital Europe.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills responded: “The law must keep pace with technology, so that the Government can act if new ways of seriously infringing copyright develop in the future.”
Meanwhile, over 28,000 people have signed a petition on the Downing Street website against parts of the Bill.
But in a speech to the Lords, the Business Secretary insisted that safeguards would be put in place to ensure the power is not used in an arbitrary way.
“Such a power should not and will not be used lightly,” said Lord Mandelson.