Members of the UK government struck down part of its controversial Digital Economy Bill on Wednesday, but opted for legislation which may be equally contentious.

Ministers wanted the power to change laws surrounding online copyrights without having to seek parliament's approval. Lords struck it down, calling it objectionable, but its replacement is also prompting criticism.

The bill, which passed through the Lords by 165 votes to 140, now enables the High Court to issue an injunction against sites suspected of hosting material that infringes copyright and effectively force them to shut down.

Detractors criticized the bill saying the new amendment would allow ministers to systematically monitor user data even when no illegal activity has taken place.

But government officials said it would provide a mechanism to thwart piracy and enforce copyrights now and as technology evolves.

There are several sites out there on the web, many of which are based outside the UK, which refuse to stop supplying access to illegal content - indeed whose business plan depends on supplying illegal content, Lord Clement-Jones said.

This site-blocking remedy would give rights holders an explicit, swift recourse to courts to block access to those sites.

The Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA), a body that represents the interests of Internet providers, urged supporters to urgently reconsider their position.

We regret that this amendment has been hastily constructed and rushed through at report stage without due consideration of the implications or consultation with the interested parties that would be affected, ISPA said.

The Open Rights Group, an organization that promotes transparency and democracy, said the amendment was appalling, saying users are now faced with a choice between future proof copyright enforcement, and an approach likely to produce straightforward threats, bans and withdrawals of sites with user generated content.