Government defeated on net piracy

The UK government has been defeated in the upper parliamentary chamber the House of Lords over measures to tackle Internet piracy.

Ministers had been seeking powers to amend copyright law and impose conditions or fees where infringements were taking place. But opposition Conservatives and Liberal Democrats succeeded in removing the measures from the Digital Economy Bill, and replaced them with a more specific amendment handing courts the power to force Internet service providers (ISPs) to block certain websites.

Lib Dem spokesman Lord Clement-Jones said the new provisions, approved by 165 votes to 140, would protect the creative industries by preventing access to websites where films and music were being provided illegally. He told peers: "I believe this is going to send a powerful message to our creative industries that we value what they do, that we want to protect what they do, that we do not believe in censoring the internet but we are responding to genuine concerns from the creative industries about providing a process whereby their material can be satisfactorily accessed legally."