Francis Davey has prepared for us a legal analysis of the copyright infringement provisions of the Digital Economy Bill, summarising its problems as follows
the key question of who will be disconnected from the internet and for what reason is subject to no democratic control and requires no consultation to be made;
although the codes must be objectively justifiable, non-discriminatory, proportionate and transparent this most important question will be decided by order of the Secretary of State who is not required to be adhere to any principles of proportionality etc;
some decisions (such as whether there has been a copyright infringement) that affect individuals will not be subject to appeal; those that are may not have an adequate route of appeal;
many of the important details are left to codes of practice which will not be subject to sufficient parliamentary scrutiny - in some cases there need be no scrutiny at all;
the Bill has an inflexible and stereotyped view of the way in which access to the internet is provided which ignores many useful and important business models: many business from Weatherspoons and Macondalds to the British Library and local community access projects will be affected and may have to cease to provide internet access.