A new Bill for illegal downloading

17/03/10

The Digital Economy Bill is currently being debated which, once passed, would go some way to curbing the copyright infringement by illegal downloading.

The Bill basically states that a code of practice would be introduced for ISPs which would regulate obligations. There would also be an independent body established which would resolve disputes between ISPs, copyright owners and subscribers.

The procedure would be that a copyright owner would have to report any infringement to the ISP, and provide proof, at which point the ISP would contact the subscriber (the alleged copyright infringer) and advise them of how they may lawfully access the copyrighted works.

The ISP would also have a duty to disclose to the subscriber that it had related data regarding the infringement, to the copyright owner and that this may result in legal action.

This is just an outline of the proposed Bill but there is also debate surrounding Clause 17 which effectively gives the Secretary of State the right to amend the Bill should future technologies facilitate new ways of seriously infringeing copyright. Entering into this particular debate are Facebook, Yahoo, eBay and Google all of whom feel that this clause would stifle innovation.

Clearly some kind of legislation with teeth is required in this area so we'll keep you informed as the Bill progresses.

 

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