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British 'Net Bill Embiggens Geeks

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, April 12 2010

The passage of the widely-disliked Digital Economy Bill in the UK is, say commentators, having at least one positive, unintended effect: it's sparking a crystallization of what might be called an invigorated geek constituency.

"[W]e have lost a battle, but won something much more important: a sense of what we are capable of," writes Glyn Moody in ComputerWorld UK. "[T]he fact that some clauses were pretty much drawn up by the media industries, and that much of the rest was framed purely to shore up outdated recording industry business models based on scarcity, means that we must address the issue of lobbying."

In the U.S., the battle over net neutrality regulation might be said to have been a clarifying political moment that brought an increased political sensibility in technology circles. But in the UK, the Digital Economy Bill almost seems to be more of a perfect storm: a particularly egregious piece of tech policy (at least in the eyes of many friends of the Internet) whose manner of passage also happened to expose the failings of the political system.