UK's anti-piracy law delayed: 'Three-strike' warnings on hold

UK's anti-piracy law delayed: 'Three-strike' warnings on hold

Summary: Provisions in the UK's anti-piracy law to cut off repeat copyright infringers and file-sharers from the Web have been delayed again, this time until 2014.

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Provisions and measures under the UK's Digital Economy Act have been delayed --- again.

Plans to send warning letters to those who are caught infringing copyright by file-sharing have been put on ice until 2014, the government department responsible for the law confirmed.

The law would set up a system where a "graduated response" --- or three-strike letters --- would be sent out incrementally to persistent file-sharers in a bid to prevent them from infringing more, and ultimately having their rights to Internet access revoked.

Broadband cut-off is one of the 'technical measures' mentioned in the law, but is only seen as a last resort to extreme offenders.

Ofcom, the communications regulator, had previously said it would start sending out notification letters to file-sharers in mid-2013. But legal challenges and bids from broadband providers to clarify the law have delayed the enacting of the controversial anti-piracy act.

It was passed during the 'wash-up' or 'guillotine' period towards the end of the last Labour government in 2010. The bill was controversial enough to deter most members of Parliament (MPs), and in the end, less 10 percent of all UK's representatives voted on the bill.

Broadband providers BT and TalkTalk through joint legal proceedings pushed back the issuing of the warning letters, which were due to be issued from 2011 onwards. They had argued the law was in breach of European law, but were unsuccessful in their challenges.

The UK government also faced added criticism after questions were raised in a Parliamentary committee pertaining to the evidence for the bill. One civil servant responsible for implementing the draft laws said there was 'no evidence' to support the new anti-piracy law.

With 2015 being an election year, the law will no doubt be a contentious topic. With the Labour government drafting and implementing the law, and the now Conservative-led coalition government pushing through its measures, it will be a hot topic for the politicians on the soapboxes.

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Topics: Piracy, Enterprise Software, Security

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2 comments
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  • Sounds like they both want it

    [i]With the Labour government drafting and implementing the law, and the now Conservative-led coalition government pushing through its measures, it will be a hot topic for the politicians on the soapboxes.[/i]

    Which means your point here is moot.
    ScorpioBlack
  • Proof is not required

    Just to correct you on an important technical point, it's not people "caught infringing copyright by file-sharing", it's people ACCUSED of the same. As the technical measures in use can't prove who was downloading, the law lets the BPI etc, punish people without having to prove that they are guilty. Given that you are a criminologist (according to your bio), you of all people should be aware how significant this difference is.

    The problem is that they can only actually identify IP numbers, which are easily spoofed, and sometimes usernames, which are little, if any, evidence.

    The bulk of the dissent to this act was due to this lack of due process, and to the fact that the companies being given this power have become notorious for their contempt for the concept of innocence, or the idea that it should make any difference.
    philculmer