New Amendments added to the Digital Economy Bill by MPs in an effort to tackle online piracy

The Digital Economy Bill, announced in the Queens Speech on 18 May 2016 was introduced in an effort to regulate the Digital Economy, as it reaches an increasingly important role in a variety of sectors. The Bills primal aim is to improve digital infrastructure, as well as tackle online pornography and intellectual property.

This is thrilling news for any copyright holders, as search engines will be ordered to de-list pirate websites from their search results, making online piracy and copyright theft increasing difficult. "Power to provide for a code of practice related to copyright infringement" is the new clause, which forces search engines into an agreement with rights holders. Should they fail to comply with the code, search engines will be fined greatly by the government, as well as investigated.

"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.” – stated Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for BIS and Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe on the Digital Economy Bill factsheet.

The new clause states: "The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for a search engine to be required to adopt a code of practice concerning copyright infringement that complies with criteria specified in the regulations."

"The regulations may provide that if a search engine fails to adopt such a code of practice, any code of practice that is approved for the purposes of that search engine by the Secretary of State, or by a person designated by the Secretary of State, has effect as a code of practice adopted by the search engine."

Kevin Brennan, the Labour MP for Cardiff West, one of the co-author of the amendments, explained the new clause with a simple analogy, emphasizing the similarity between search engines and the Yellow Pages. Just as the Yellow Pages only list official, legal businesses, search engines should by no means support “illegal” websites. They ought to restrict the search results of websites with “illegal content”, be that copyrighted material or pornography.

The Digital Economy Bill sub serves the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) as well as the Rights Holders of Intellectual Property.

H&B Administration LLP members are evidently thrilled at the New Amendments of the Digital Economy Bill, as is eager to experience the change in digital piracy as an effect of its implementation.

You can read the bill here: