Page last updated at 21:09 GMT, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 22:09 UK

Digital Economy Bill begins passage through Commons

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On 6 April 2010, MPs began deliberations at second reading on the Digital Economy Bill, which seeks to tackle online piracy and illegal file-sharing by enforcing internet bans for persistent offenders.

It also provides for the digital switchover of radio by 2015 and modernisation of mobile and wireless broadband connections.

A clause allowing ministers wide-ranging powers to amend copyright law to respond to future technological changes was removed as the bill underwent scrutiny in the House of Lords.

Peers voted to replace it with new arrangements allowing websites containing "substantial" amounts of copyright material to be blocked.

This has proved controversial with internet companies, consumer rights campaigners and academics who fear it could "threaten freedom of speech and the open internet".

MPs expressed concern that there was not enough time left to scrutinise the bill fully before Parliament is dissolved for the general election.

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