Ofcom launches online copyright infringement code

Provided for by the recently-implemented Digital Economy Act, the new code to reduce online copyright infringement could come into force in early 2011, subject to consultation and approval.
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The UK communications regulator is proposing that ISPs compile lists of British citizens infringing music and film copyright, writes David Davies. Contained in a new draft code of practice intended to tackle illegal downloading is the suggestion of a three-stage notification for ISPs to inform subscribers of copyright infringements. Anyone receiving three notifications within a year would be eligible for inclusion on a list requested by a copyright owner.

Expected to be introduced in early 2011, the code - provided for by the Digital Economy Act (DEA) - would initially apply to ISPs with more than 400,000 customers such as BT, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Sky.

An independent appeals process will also be built into the code, which is the subject of a consultation exercise due to conclude on 30 July.

Placing the initiative in a wider context of moves against illegal downloading/filesharing, an official statement added: "The code of practice forms part of a wider set of industry activity to tackle online copyright infringement including consumer education, the promotion of lawful alternative services and targeted legal action against serious infringers. Ofcom intends to monitor how these develop and will report regularly to Government on both the effectiveness of the code and on the additional measures."

One of the most controversial pieces of legislation to be introduced in the last parliament, the DEA passed into law shortly before May's General Election.

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