The U.K. government says it will add measures to the Digital Economy Bill that will create an appeals procedure for those accused of online copyright infringement.

Stephen Timms, the minister for Digital Britain, confirmed today (March 22) that "there will be an appeals procedure available which people will be able to pursue."

The announcement was made alongside prime minister Gordon Brown's speech about a long-term plan for superfast broadband. The government is planning a £6 ($9) a year levy to help pay for the infrastructure that it says would provide broadband of 50 megabits per second for 90% of the country by the end of 2017.

Internet freedom campaigners, Internet Service Providers and Web firms have expressed concern about the anti-piracy measures in the Bill, which they say could lead to summary suspension of accounts and blocking of any site that may feature copyright infringing material.

But technical measures and suspension of accounts will only happen if the government believes there has been no reduction in the overall levels of online piracy, following the warning letters sent to those suspected of file-sharing.

Timms said he was hopeful that such a system of sanctions would not be needed.
He added that "there will be no disconnection before the appeal."

There are also concerns about the lack of time being allocated to the Bill in parliament. It is likely to be rushed through, as parliament is set to be dissolved next month for a May general election.

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