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WinMX World :: Forum  |  Discussion  |  WinMx World News  |  Broadband ISPs Respond to Ofcoms Copyright Infringement Code

Author Topic: Broadband ISPs Respond to Ofcoms Copyright Infringement Code  (Read 482 times)

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Offline DaBees-Knees

  • WMW Team
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Several broadband ISPs, including O2 and Virgin Media UK, have this morning begun issuing their reactions to last week's publication of a draft 'Online Copyright Infringement Initial Obligations Code' consultation by Ofcom (code summary). Most of the early responses are somewhat soft, which is to be expected. The first document does not touch on the most contentious area of technical measures (customer punishments).

The initial code, a requirement of the recently passed Digital Economy Act (DEA), seeks mostly to tackle unlawful copyright file sharing (P2P) by, among other things, issuing warning notices (letters) to customers when such activity is detected. Most of the big providers have already given a passive agreement to this, therefore we do not expect much dirt to be thrown until the consultations covering costs and enforcement surface between July and September.

An O2 spokesperson told

"When the Digital Economy Act was passing through Parliament, O2 campaigned hard to make clear to politicians from all parties that an elaborate scheme to send threatening letters to customers was a distraction from the real answer. The best way for the creative industries to solve the problem of copyright breaches is to embrace new internet business models that enable customers to legally consume the content they want, when they want it and in a format they want, for a fair price.

The Bill is now law and Ofcom has the job of determining how it will work in practice. We are in discussion with Ofcom about their proposals and will be responding to their consultation to make sure that our customers will be treated fairly when the new law comes into force. In particular we are pushing for clear and agreed standards of proof for customers accused of breaching copyright, and a straightforward and effective appeals mechanism for customers who believe they have been wrongly accused."

A Virgin Media spokesperson said:

"We remain committed to responsibly tackling online piracy and will continue to work with the government, rights owners and the industry to materially reduce the level of illegal file-sharing. However, any legislative measures need to work alongside innovative commercial solutions if they are to truly tackle the issue and we remain focused on developing new services as the digital age gathers pace."

A TalkTalk Statement to

"Ofcom's draft code of practice is a valiant attempt to implement the hospital pass it was given in the Digital Economy Act, but we think it has the potential to turn into a bureaucratic dog's breakfast. As the code stands, millions of customers would be at risk of being falsely accused of copyright infringement, being falsely put onto an 'offenders' register' and so potentially taken to court. Also, the draft code exempts smaller ISPs and mobile operators, which seems arbitary and could lead to market distortion.

The government is separately consulting on whether copyright owners should reimburse the significant costs that ISPs will incur to operate this letter-writing process. Copyright owners are the only ones that will benefit from this system, so unless the government decides that these companies should fully reimburse ISPs' costs, broadband customers will in effect be forced to subsidise the profits of large music and film companies."

A BT spokesman commented:

"This is a detailed and complex document which we will be reviewing over the coming weeks. However our initial reaction is that Ofcom’s proposal to limit the obligations to just seven fixed operators and exclude mobile operators and fixed ISPs with less than 400k subscribers is concerning.

The UK currently boasts a highly competitive broadband market and we believe that such a move has serious potential to distort the market. We will be submitting our full response to Ofcom by the required deadline of 30th July 2010."

UPDATE 2nd June

Sky Broadband have also told us that they will not comment, which is unsurprising given their support of Rights Holders and a focus on media content more than internet access. (This will also affect Virgins comments as they are deeply involved in in the music business).

It seems some ISPs have more courage to protect their customers than others, or is it a fear of the cost and a potential loss of customers?   8)

WinMX World :: Forum  |  Discussion  |  WinMx World News  |  Broadband ISPs Respond to Ofcoms Copyright Infringement Code

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