UK publishes Digital Britain, will it make law?

The Government's introduction of the Digital Britain bill on Friday last week will “secure the UK's position as a world-leading digital economy”, say ministers. “We need to make sure copyright and the systems around it work in the digital era.”

The Government was “likely to get this bill through” they say but others doubt it will make it through the process before June's general election.

The bill includes controversial plans, recently appended to the legislation, to give ministers the power to amend copyright law through a statutory instrument. The move is an attempt to “future proof” the bill's measures to prevent piracy of music and movies.

For broadcasters, the government's biggest changes come in its plans to switch over most FM radio stations to digital broadcast by 2015, and the creation of independently funded news consortia, to protect the “plurality” of local and regional news. But plans to pay for these consortia using £130 million (E145m) from the BBC's licence fee have been delayed until after the election, leaving open the question of how these new bodies will be funded.

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