Digital Economy Bill [ Lords]

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 7:08 pm on 6th April 2010.

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Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice) 7:08 pm, 6th April 2010

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, and I pay tribute to the work that he does as chair of the all-party jazz appreciation group-I know that that is something that he particularly enjoys. He is absolutely right-it is not sharing, but taking. Nothing is shared by the people who take this for absolutely nothing. They are not giving anything back in return.

Who opposes these measures? Of course, the powerful internet service providers and their digital rights friends do not like them. The ISPs are the pipes that allow such activity to take place, but they have to accept their responsibility for what is provided by their hugely lucrative infrastructure. To try to solve this problem, they have been encouraged, persuaded and asked to come to the table to try to deal with it. However, apart from Sky and Virgin-who are content rights holders themselves-they have wilfully refused to co-operate or participate, so they must now be obliged to do so by legislation. They have had their chance to come to the table.

Mr. TalkTalk and Mr. BT have been sending me all these briefings about freedom and human rights, but the only people in the disconnection business are TalkTalk, BT and the other ISPs, when they do not get their share. It is all right for the rights holders to give their stuff away for nothing. Mr. TalkTalk and Mr. BT should lead by example and let access be allowed for nothing. Somehow, I do not think that they will be taking up that particular offer. This is where we are in the debate. It is all right for somebody else to give something away for nothing, but if they are asked to give something away, they will not be interested at all. We should be careful in the lessons that we take from TalkTalk, BT and the rest of the ISPs.

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