PR industry attacks Digital Economy Act as a 'step in the wrong direction'

PR chiefs say the Digital Economy Act is 'bad news' and a 'step in the wrong direction'.

PR professionals have condemned the recently passed Digital Economy Bill, now the Digital Economy Act, as being potentially detrimental to the industry, following a backlash on Twitter.

The Act legislates for the protection of copyright through targeting file sharing and received Royal Assent last week. But there are mounting fears it could prove damaging for PR practitioners.

Speed Communications MD Stephen Waddington said: 'PR agencies will need to tighten up copyright governance and for the fast-growing digital PR industry that's bad news. It does nothing to encourage digital innovation.'

Ruder Finn director, digital strategy, Ged Carroll echoed this sentiment, adding: 'The industry will be affected in terms of workflow and logistics. For example, it will need to be very careful when working with viral campaigns.'

NixonMcInnes director, Will McInnes, said the PR industry was 'still outdated in the internet age and the Digital Economy Act doesn't help'. He added: 'Fundamentally it is a step in the wrong direction.'

The Act has also prompted debate around how it will affect the working relationship between brands and PROs. Some comms professionals believe the stringent copyright laws will scare brands away from operating in the UK.

Carroll said: 'The Act could affect the technology sector in terms of clients. If I were running a global campaign, I might consider bypassing the UK completely.'

McInnes disagreed, saying: 'On the client side, it's not a negative step. Clients will be reassured. This will represent another tool to protect them.'

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