Ofcom releases draft code for online copyright infringement

copyright law digital economy act

From Ofcom 26/06/12:

Internet users will be encouraged to download music and films through legal channels under measures outlined today by Ofcom.

Oh no! Don’t open that spectacularly nasty can of worms again. I remember attending the Parliament & Internet Conference back in 2009 when the (then) ill fated Digital Economy Bill was the talk of the town and BIS’ inconsistent use of the terms “legal” and “lawful” resulted in a lot of head-scratching and looks of bewilderment amongst attendees.

Surely they knew there was a difference? I don’t think anyone dared ask the question for fear of what the answer might be!

But that wasn’t just an exercise in pedantry; the ill-conceived and half-baked ideas that (sadly) came to fruition in the Digital Economy Act were bad enough, without adding confusion and ignorance into the mix.

Ofcom has published a draft code for consultation that would require large internet service providers (ISPs) to inform customers of allegations that their internet connection has been used to infringe copyright.

The code, which Ofcom is required to publish under the Digital Economy Act 2010,1 includes measures to help inform the public and promote lawful access to digital content such as music and films.

Phew – we’re back on track now (just the inconsistency between legal and lawful to try and grapple with). Oh, and the simple trick of actually getting content creators (or more specifically, their greedy publishers/labels) to get over themselves and start charging sensible prices via attractive means to consumers. ISPs black listing torrent sites will be about as much use as a tin tack in a jockstrap in stopping anyone with half a brain downloading content unlawfully (if they want to).

Yep – good luck with that one.

When notifying customers of reported infringements, ISPs must explain the steps subscribers can take to protect their networks from being used to infringe copyright and tell them where they can go to find licensed content on the internet.

Copyright owners are expected to invest in awareness campaigns to help educate consumers about the impact of copyright infringement and further to develop attractive online services to offer their content. Ofcom will report regularly to the Government on the effectiveness of both the code and these broader initiatives from copyright owners.

I don’t hold out much hope.

Something tells me that overseas providers offering Virtual Private Network (VPNs) to internet users in the UK will soon be enjoying a tasty increase in business as users look at technical ways to get around the UK’s ill-conceived and botched copyright infringement laws.

By the way, something smells bad in here. Oh wait – it’s the DEA festering in the corner.

Booo, I say, Booooooo!


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