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Who will pay for policing copyright infringement?
Friday 20 November 2009 13:18:03 by Andrew Ferguson

The Digital Economy Bill stretches to some 60 pages and continually refers to the earlier Communications Act 2003 making it a hard read for a Friday. Digging into the document reveals that there is provision for sharing of the costs that will arise from the new rules on managing copyright infringement.

15 Sharing of costs
After section 124K of the Communications Act 2003 insert-
"124L Sharing of costs

  1. The Secretary of State may by order specific provision that must be included in an initial obligations code or a technical obligations code about payment of contributions towards costs incurred under the copyright infringement provisions.
  2. Provision specified under subsection (1) may relate to, in particular-
    1. payment by a copyright owner of a contribution towards the costs that an internet service provider incurs;
    2. payment by a copyright owner or internet service provider of a contribution towards the costs that OFCOM incur.
  3. Provision specified under subsection (1) may include, in particular-
    1. provision about costs incurred before the provision is included in an initial obligations code or technical obligations code;
    2. provision for payment in advance of expected costs (and for reimbursement of overpayments where the costs incurred are less than expected);
    3. provision about how costs, expected costs or contributions must be calculated;
    4. other provision about when and how contributions must be paid."
Extract from Digital Economy Bill

The costs of passing on all the infringement letters and maintaining an accurate database of past infringements has been raised by various broadband providers since the original Digital Britain report, the Bill would appear to offer a cost sharing solution, but it seems it is down to the Secretary of State to control whether this sharing takes place. Interestingly Ofcom will be able to have its costs from its involvement paid for by copyright holders and providers.

While reducing copyright infringement is something that must be addressed, there is the danger that the methods used will actually cost more to run than it creates in extra revenue. At this time there is little sign of any extra revenue streams for broadband providers. The largest providers may benefit from partnerships with music labels to bundle a music subscription with their service, but for those providers with less than a million users they do not have the negotiating power to get a good deal from these sorts of deals. Thus, at the end of day we may see the price of broadband creeping up to cover the extra costs, or those people who do buy music and films will see media costs increase to cover what the media industry must pay.


Posted by shaunhw over 7 years ago
Who ultimately pays for all this ? The law abiding ISP customer who doesn't pirate anything that's who, along with the customers who legally buy their music.

Posted by zaggie over 7 years ago
The music and film industry have beeen complaining that they lose millions of pounds of sales as a result of copyright infringement. If they feel that bill is the answer, surely they should put their money where their mouth is and fully fund the ISPs and Ofcom because of the profit they will get from increased sales.
Posted by ehteam over 7 years ago
Costs? Who cares? This legislation is literally life-threatening.

Stereotype: You are a depressed single parent who keeps going using support from chat rooms. Your "challenging" teenage son can get violent and downloads pirated music 24/7.

Question: Who will get their head kicked in when he's shown a letter warning that your Internet connection is going to be cut off, the ISP or you?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 7 years ago
To correct one assumption, the connection being cut off is suppossed to be a last resort, i.e. initially it is expected that people will be going to civil court, and if that fails e.g. due to the volume of people involved then technical measures may be employed.
Posted by wifigeek over 7 years ago
all its going to do is move the most dubious use to VPN's from foreign countries. ISPS should be classed as common carrier status - do BT get charged if someone abuses the telephone system? no? then why should internet providers! who cares if someone downloads dodgy content - I certainly dont and fail to see how someone downloading something is a lost sale - they may not have planned to buy it to begin with!
Posted by Rroff over 7 years ago
Its like watching a car crash in slow motion :(

The faster the media industry realises its in their power to do something about piracy without going after (for the most part) innocent people the better... spotify managed to apparently reduce piracy by 30% depending on the figures you look at and thats just the tip of the iceberg of potential ways to engage customers.
Posted by pigfister over 7 years ago
A boycott of all involved is what is needed.


# Sony BMG Music Entertainment
# Warner Music Group
# Universal Music Group


# Sony Pictures
# Warner Bros. (Time Warner)
# Universal Studios (NBC Universal)
# The Walt Disney Company
# 20th Century Fox (News Corporation)
# Paramount Pictures Viacom—(DreamWorks owners since February 2006)
Posted by JeremyBoden over 7 years ago
How do I capture the DRM-free audio signal from Spotify? <grin>.
Posted by herdwick over 7 years ago
"do BT get charged if someone abuses the telephone system?" - no, but they do have the cost of running an abuse department to investigate and terminate such things, which is in many ways similar to this proposal.
Posted by c_j_ over 7 years ago
"BT do have the cost of running an abuse department to investigate and terminate such things"

Excuse me, but customers who want BT to reduce abuse already have to pay BT for it. Neither Anonymous Caller Rejection nor Choose To Refuse (block specified callers) are free services (abuse victims may get a free limited subscription to Choose To Refuse).

Now, back to copyright abuse.

There are already laws to deal with copyright abuse. If there's evidence of law breaking, use them, if there isn't, then either get the evidence or give up+move on.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
"While reducing copyright infringement is something that must be addressed"

However, doing it in this manner is likely to cost the IT industry several times even the inflated figures given for infringement, and is likely to be largely ineffective at doing anything but reducing sales, especially since cash previously spent on content will be spent instead on paying the higher ISP fees caused by these "enforcement efforts".

Yes I work in a creative media industry, no this is the not the right way to tackle unauthorised copying!
Posted by herdwick over 7 years ago
"Excuse me, but customers who want BT to reduce abuse already have to pay BT for it" - no they don't, not proper abuse of the law breaking kind.

ACR may reduce abuse but many anonymous calls would not be abusive, for example.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
File-sharing isn't a problem, many labels have taken it up as a new business model and are doing well.

This was never about profit but control.


Good to see someone posted this before me, I always boycott BSA members as well and any other unethical organisations/companies.

This will just end up bankrupting the little ISP's leaving us with a few behemoths that provide horrible service, high costs and low speeds.

All about corporate dominance and the control of the net.


Why bother with Spotify at all? Just use normal P2P.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Well said shaunhw with your first comment, rubbish about copyright holders paying is simply chaff thrown in that the sheep will believe.
We will all pay higher prices due to yet more government brain dead behaviour.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
c_j_ totally agree with you also (They take my money for line rental so i pay for BTs so called abuse service department). Herwick hush and stop defending BT, you sound like one of their stupid PR people.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
In addition this bill also has another clause, which not only allows anti-copyright related content but "any other consideration".

Read those last 3 words back to yourself.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 7 years ago
ISP's can recover costs for helping the police with serious crime investigations, but they are to made to pay towards civil investigations.

Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
How do you mean andrew, how can ISP's recover the costs of such monitoring? From who the police? And how much of this copyright infringement is serious crime vs your average joe downloading some music & films? If this is a mandate for all ISP's it means we end up with only 3 or 4 ISP's in the UK and a bump in price to cover this monitoring which the infringers will circumvent in a matter of days/weeks.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
I mean is this really about copyright infringement or just a way for the government to monitor every single thing we do on the internet (how else could they track infringement?) A few ISP's talk about using Phorm and the public goes crazy and Phorm gets dumped so now the government come at it from a different angle that ultimately does more snooping that Phorm ever would have!
Posted by Bryan-Tansley over 7 years ago
I guess that come the next election we had better exercise our right to elect politicos who represent our views.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 7 years ago
There is another set of legislation about providers keeping records of who we email, sites we visit.

No need for back door sneaking, it is out there and will be happening.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Bryan - They have to exist, first.

Andrew - And that's why they invented encryption.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago


But personally I'd prefer a revolution and turn this joint into a republic., feudalism ftl!
Posted by g-bhxu over 7 years ago
OK, I pay a SKY Movies subscription and a TV Licence, so answer this question.

What is the harm in downloading a film or a TV programme after/before it's shown on a subscription, BBC or Free-to-air (ITV1, CH4, Five, etc) channel?

Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Its a good question. You Sky+ Babe Pig in the City (legal to do so) but your recording messes up, so you download it instead but end up in court? How is it legal to tape from the TV. In both cases for personal use only of course.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
^^^ Fair use rights, that along with the fact Sky, the beeb or whoever have paid required fees in which to screen whatever movie it maybe.

Its similar to Iplayer, you may watch a hollywood blockbuster one night on TV and the next wish to grab it from iplayer, only it wont be on their because they do not have the rights to use the material in that manner.
Posted by Fixer109 over 7 years ago
Has anyone noticed that all this Bills that have bee commented on this week have given Mandelson so many powers which do not require him too pass through the commons so therefore he can do as his puppet desire and you will have no recourse. This is how Hitler started his career.

Come on lets vote this 'person' OUT
Posted by Fixer109 over 7 years ago
Edit on my previous comment.

These bills not this bills

can do as his puppet masters desire (remember that he got only interested in these affairs after his Paid for cruise)
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Fixer? These things take weeks. The conspiracy theory about the meeting, when it's well known Mandleson held those views anyway, is just silly.
Posted by m101dream over 7 years ago
first of all don't believe the figures no one knows who downloads what. I am a serious downloader and the places i go to download do not came on the radar of a pollster .i've have never visited spotify if i want to stream music i go last fm and if i want to keep i download a torrent file so where you get the fact that 30% reduction on copyright is bullshit actually it's 30% increase in downloads
Posted by m101dream over 7 years ago
just download a torrent and share people thats what the net is for don't forget it . cheap, easy, and put a kick in the corporate world's ass for trying to make money of us in every way. also seed people
Posted by drone69 over 7 years ago
Better make sure your wi-fi connection is secure if this crap becomes law.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
^^^ I think you mean encrypted, just having his connection secure (WPA etc) wont mean a darn thing if his upload and download is not encrypted torrent use will be easy to spot. Why he is even visiting sites like LastFM, Spotify and Iplayer if he wishes to stream and make a copy of the material i dont even understand, you can do that without even visiting the site, same goes for Iplayer and many others if you know what you are doing.
Posted by tommy45 over 7 years ago
Why should anyone listen to that corrupt mandelson ? did he not get thrown out of politics once before,? It's the nanny state gone mad,As for their unjustified claims that the film/music industries are loosing sales because of file sharing on the net is total bull,as those who file share would have no intention of buying dvd/cd's anyway,the same can be said for software too,
If these greedy institutions want more sales then they need to reduce the retail price for a start,not pick on the average joe,you can stick digital Britain and the telecoms package,both will be changes for the worse
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