Lords pass controversial internet piracy bill

Legislation to tackle internet piracy, including bans for illegal file-sharers, has been passed by the Lords.

The Digital Economy Bill is now expected to be rushed through the Commons before the general election.

Peers had earlier rejected a bid by ministers to include wide-ranging powers over future online piracy law.

But despite criticism, the government said it was still committed to giving courts the power to block websites which are infringing copyright.

The bill, put forward by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, has been welcomed by the music industry because it includes plans to suspend the internet accounts of people who persistently download material illegally.

But firms such as British Telecom, Google and Facebook say that would be unfair and illegal file-sharers should be fined instead of cut off.

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