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Outline of copyright infringement code published
Wednesday 20 January 2010 13:57:56 by Andrew Ferguson

The process for how copyright laws will be enforced in the UK is perhaps becoming clearer as the government publishes what may become the code for how broadband providers administer the new rules.

The outline code is not meant to be the final word on the matter, but is simply meant as a primer for a code that the Government hopes the industry will arrive to on its own. If no industry consensus is arrived at, then the onus will fall onto Ofcom to create a code that providers must adhere to. An underlying theme to the copyright issue is the hope that the new rules will lead to new methods of accessing digital content, such as music download services, though to date these have tended to amount to a little more than online equivalents of the record subscription clubs operating in the 1980s.

A new three-letter acronym is set to enter the UK language; a Copyright Infringement Report (CIR) is a report sent by a copyright holder (or another body authorised by them), to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) detailing the alleged infringement of copyright, along with supporting evidence. The outline code does not define an exact format for these reports, although we expect that an electronic standard will be agreed to allow for efficient processing.

A major criticism of the actions previously taken by a small number of solicitors in support for copyright holders has been the accuracy of the information, and the code is suggesting that as a minimum, the methods of detection should be open to independent/Ofcom scrutiny and additionally a copy of the copyrighted material (or significant part) is to be retained. At present, it is only planned that reports cover the uploading of copyrighted content; i.e. those people who are making available for others copies of material without the copyright holders' permission. An earlier document published in December 2009 entitled 'Online Infringement Of Copyright: The Details' outlines some of technical reasons why uploading is the main target.

Interestingly, it has been suggested that an ISP can reject a CIR as being non-compliant in respect of the code. There will also be a time limit on how long an ISP has to action a CIR following a report by a copyright holder, although at present there are no indications of what would constitute a reasonable period, leaving it  up to the industry to agree a suitable timetable.

The report raises a caveat in relation to pre-pay mobile data users (phone or dongle) where the provider has no contact details for the user, but makes no suggestions as to how this might be tackled. This may mean that some pre-pay users, as well as customers of the smallest service providers and community broadband projects are overlooked, provided the infringements are minimal.

In essence, what we have at this time is something of a catch-22 situation, the aim of the legislation is to reduce the amount of copyright infringement, but there has been no definitive independent research into how much of a problem this is.

A distinct danger is that those who have made copyright infringement a hobby or business will simply act to cover their tracks, perhaps by something as simple as encrypting all their traffic through a distributed network. We have to remember that most of the public may not understand that by using a peer-to-peer (p2p) client, they are also making content available to others, and we may well find the music and film industries spending as much money protecting its copyright as they claim to have lost. The music-buying public is very unpredictable, and one record label making a mistake or being over zealous over an artist's material, risks a backlash amongst those who actually buy their content.

TalkTalk, one broadband provider who has been very vocal on the issue of copyright infringement, has warned that broadband prices may rise by £15 to £20 a year to cover the cost of policing copyright even if the music and film industries are paying their part of the costs. They also point out that those who buy music and films legally will end up paying for this too as a result of higher content prices.

At the end of the day infringing copyright is wrong, but conversely there is a distinct need to define what is and is not fair use of material.

Comments

Posted by barstep over 7 years ago
I wonder if the government will act similarly to protect photographers whose images are used for commercial use without permission? Surely legislation should protect the small business as much as the big ones.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"At present, it is only planned that reports cover the uploading of copyrighted content; i.e. those people who are making available for others copies of material without the copyright holders' permission."

Carry on your FTP, IRC and newsgroup downloading as usual.
No shocker really as with regards to copyright infringment it has always technically only been uploading thats illegal.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"The report raises a caveat in relation to pre-pay mobile data users (phone or dongle) where the provider has no contact details for the user, but makes no suggestions as to how this might be tackled. "

Something i tried to explain to a certain infamous user way back in Novemeber.... Typically they couldnt explain a way to stop those people either....
http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/4103-mobile-broadband-may-have-problems-identifying-pirates.html#news_comments
Posted by hairyman over 7 years ago
I condemn copyright infringement, it is stealing!! Buy your own music and games. If these laws go through it looks like I will be paying for those who steal copyrighted material, through the higher ISP charges and through increased material costs as record/film and software suppliers run up costs to enforce the theft.
Posted by hairyman over 7 years ago
Sorry about the last double post.Why dont ISPs stop peer to peer and streaming transfers completely unless the users pay a much higher charge for data use and only after the user is fully identified by at the very least say a valid credit card and utility bill.Its these users that congest the networks with mostly illegal unpaid for content?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote".... If these laws go through it looks like I will be paying for those who steal copyrighted material,..."

A fair point, but wont those that as you call it steal also be paying the higher cost?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"Why dont ISPs stop peer to peer and streaming transfers completely unless the users pay a much higher charge for data use and only after the user is fully identified by at the very least say a valid credit card and utility bill."

Stopping p2p wont stop copyright infringment, copyright infringment can be committed just watching a youtube video, unless you ban every video service on the net, ban every server and storage service and so much more you cant stop copyright infringment, never have been able to, never will.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 7 years ago
As for stopping streaming transfers, are you suggesting I should pay more to be allowed to stream radio/TV that I've already paid for via TV license, Sky subscription.

Plenty of people already buy a monthly usage allowance from their ISP, are you suggesting that they should pay more if they want that usage to be streaming?
Posted by batdog over 7 years ago
<Why dont ISPs stop peer to peer and streaming transfers completely>

Because they can't. Thats the problem its impossible
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
Uploading is the main target because downloading copyrighted works in the UK is legal, people seem to have forgotten that.

Usenet FTW!
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
@hairyman

The reason I don't buy music (RIAA labels) and movies (MPAA studios) is because I disagree with their business practices, then pricing.

I buy computer games, I have spent A LOT of money in regards to that industry.

And it's not stealing, theft is depriving the original owner, this is copying by definition, hence the word "copy-right".

Assumptions are the mother of all ****-ups.

The government wants control, they are using the corporations to do this.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
sort of agree with otester, I rarely buy films and music now, even then its usually old classics. I do still buy software regurly tho. My reason is as he said based on principal I think both corporations have lost the plot in how they deal with consumers.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"Uploading is the main target because downloading copyrighted works in the UK is legal, people seem to have forgotten that.

Usenet FTW!."

Indeed as i mentioned in my first post. No doubt this law/s will be changed further as it wont satisfy the cry baby music/film industry. Its a pity some still cant comprehend the difference between theft and copyright infringment.
Posted by scragglymonk over 7 years ago
people forget that peer to peer is legal, all those WOW players out there, they can only get wow from p2p via blizzard, ubuntu releases are p2p, plus a lot of legal music on jamendo.com, mininova.org
All my games are legal, most of the music comes from the above and listen to spotify
Posted by Oddball over 7 years ago
There is so much fail in this. So many loopholes. Such a waste of time and money.

Anyone with half a clue can get around these measures. This will only catch a few kids and grandparents. Serious filesharers will be covering their behinds with various techniques. Plus it's a numbers game.
Posted by xb0xguru over 7 years ago
"Why dont ISPs stop peer to peer and streaming transfers completely"

Because as already mentioned, there's nothing illegal in the p2p mechanism - it's the content which is questionable.

To use TBB's analogy, instead of going after the stick (as opposed to the carrot), change the cost of the ride.
Posted by xb0xguru over 7 years ago
(cont...) You're NEVER going to stop file-sharing - let people download lower bitrate/resolution versions of new movies but lock them down with DRM and charge a fee proportionate to the quality. Your cinema/dvd/blu-ray audience will still be there and those who want to download it, can. MPAA - stop fighting the technology and embrace it. Take a leaf out of the mp3 industry and realise it's just another revenue stream.
Posted by lilamadison over 7 years ago
I own several small publications and deal with this issue daily. My view is that the genie is out of the bottle and it's too late to really do anything BUT change how people are paid for their work. I think a different business model with fair pricing, realistic payments for artists and no more £75 concert tickets would go a long way to getting costs back to realism and negate any need for any such laws. Rights as we know them are a thing of the past...and we all need to accept that with a new business model.
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