Digital Britain copyright laws under attack

Google, Facebook, eBay and Yahoo have joined forces to lobby Business Secretary Lord Mandelson to drop proposals to give ministers the power to change copyright law. The companies say they had "grave concerns" that a clause in the new Digital Inclusion Bill risks "stifling innovation and damaging the Government's vision for a Digital Britain".

In a letter to the Business Secretary they said: "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 business and puts at risk the UK's leading position in a digital Europe."

Illegal filesharers could have internet suspended The companies said that in its current form the Bill, which had its second reading in Parliament yesterday, would give any future secretary of state "unprecedented and sweeping powers" to change copyright law.

They said the clause could be used to increase monitoring of users "even where no illegal activity has taken place", which would "discourage innovation" and "impose unnecessary" costs on those attempting to improve Britain's digital future.