The digital economy act to kill start-up culture in the UK | April 17, 2010

The recent passing of the UK Digital Economy Act has generated outrage amongst the web community. Large media business have effectively lobbied government under the spurious claim that without protection the future of the digital economy in the UK is at threat. However the future of digital isn’t locked inside a few big content companies distributing their goods electronically. The future of the digital economy is in empowering a creative class to produce new and as yet unheard of business opportunities on the web. So rather than protecting the digital economy, the Digital Economy Act will have the effect of protecting outdated business models and harming innovation in the UK and handing over initiative to more liberal and less restrictive countries.

One potentially damaging aspect facing UK start-ups and freelancers is the one makes the owners of open wifi networks responsible for the traffic that passes over the network. This three strikes and your out process that requires no proof and provides no real means of defence will have a damming effect on the coffee shop culture in the UK. Bars, cafes, public libraries and any other wifi provider will now be responsible for the traffic on their network. As such, many will stop providing open access for fear of disconnection, and the cafe working culture so important to the start-up community is at risk of coming to a crashing end.

Considering it’s taken so long to foster this culture, I think it’s going to be a huge loss to the digital economy and a terrible shame. How many potential Dopplers, Moos LastFMs are we going lose because of this? I wonder?

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