Digital piracy bill passed by Lords

The UK government’s digital economy bill has passed its third reading in the upper house, the House of Lords, and is now expected to become law before the general election.

The bill, which is likely to include controversial measures that would force ISPs to block websites that host pirated content, is widely expected to be rushed through the House of Commons with support from the opposition Conservative party.

In the House of Lords, an amendment proposed by business secretary Lord Peter Mandelson that would give ministers power to amend copyright law to tackle new and emerging forms of piracy was defeated and replaced with an equally controversial amendment that would oblige ISPs to block websites that hosted pirated content. This too was defeated but the government has said that a new provision will be introduced to deal with such sites before the bill becomes law.