Insights Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) welcomes Digital Economy Bill.

The UK Government’s Digital Economy Bill, which was recently introduced in Parliament and is now clear of its First Reading, has been welcomed by FAST.

Julian Heathcote Hobbins, General Counsel, FAST, stated: “One of the most important changes outlined in this Bill from the perspective of the software sector is the increased maximum sentences for online copyright infringement. The draft of the Digital Economy Bill published extends the current prison term from two to ten years. The relevant part amends the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, and simply replaces the word two with ten”.

In its submission in the Consultation phase, FAST stated: “We support effective and dissuasive sanctions including against the commercial copyright pirate who “infringe the rights of copyright holders for large-scale financial gain”.  However, it should be noted that FAST Industry members remain cautious on the use of the criminal law so that those who are vulnerable or who infringe unwittingly are not targeted”.

FAST says that the Digital Economy Bill includes a range of measures in support of the Government’s stated aim of driving the digital economy, including:

  • empowering consumers and providing better connectivity so that everyone has access to broadband wherever they live;
  • building a better infrastructure fit for the digital future;
  • enabling better public services using digital technologies; and
  • providing important protections for citizens from spam email and nuisance calls and protecting children from online pornography.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for BIS and Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “The UK is rightly known worldwide as home to some of the world’s most innovative and creative businesses, many for whom IP is key to their success.  These measures strengthen the IP framework, ensuring the UK remains a great place to innovate and do business”.  To read FAST’s press release in full, click here.