Following the news this morning that BIS have announced the costs for the Copyright Infringement Notice process are to be shared 75% to 25% between copyright holders and ISPs respectively, ISPs have spoken out against this charging.
"We think this is absolutely outrageous.
In effect, ISPs and their customers will be forced to pay for the costs of the music and film industries to enforce their own copyright. To us this is manifestly unfair. It is the rightsholders' material; if they think it is being accessed illegally, it is only right that they should be the ones to pay for protecting it.
Furthermore, it's inevitable under this system that many innocent customers will be falsely accused of filesharing and put on an 'offenders register' though they have broken no law. Letters are sent to the owner of the connection over which the illegal downloading is alleged to have occurred. The actual downloading could have been done by someone else entirely, even a hacker many hundreds or thousands of miles away. But the connection owner – the bill payer – is the one who will be written to and put on an offenders register to be exposed to court action. It is this same scheme that would be used to identify customers to disconnect."Andrew Heaney, (Director of strategy and regulation) TalkTalk
TalkTalk have stood their ground, firmly opposing the Digital Economy Act since it was brought into conception under the previous government by Peter Mandleson. The Internet Service Providers Association which acts as a trade body for the ISP industry takes a similar view that ISPs should not be forced to foot the bill.
"ISPA has consistently argued for the 'beneficiary pays' principle, and is disappointed with today's announcement. Full cost recovery for serious law enforcement cases is an established rule, and ISPA sees no reason why it should not be the case here."Nicholas Lansman, (secretary general) ISPA
Whilst ISPs are able to complain all they like, it is unlikely that any changes will come from this. The DEA is one that the government are trying to bring in to action as quickly as possible and the announcement today already includes a push back of the date by which Ofcom must implement this by 3 months. The full BIS consultation response can be read here (PDF).