Hands up if you had forgotten about the Digital Economy Act?
The Digital Economy Act has never been popular with the general public or providers, with BT and TalkTalk launching an appeal against the act, that was ultimately unsuccessful. The costs of a letter writing campaign whose primary goal was to reduce the level of copyright infringement in the UK has been set, such that providers would have to pay 25% of the costs, ultimately meaning that consumers would have to pay the bill, both those who infringe copyright and those that do not.
Ofcom has recently briefed ISPA on the progress of the code of practice that will govern the letter writing campaign, and Trefor Davies has a clear summary of the update on his blog.
The main thrust is that while the industry had been expecting the letter campaign to start in the spring of 2013, Q1 2014 is now the expected date. Most of the delays are due to procedural reasons, and that the current Government may be quietly ignoring it.
While a letter writing campaign may have some merit, in the same way a teacher asking a naughty child to stop scratching their name into a desk may have some merit, the speed at which the digital world is moving may reduce copyright infringement to levels where the media industries accept the losses. Services like Sky AnyTime+, Netflix and Lovefilm are all making it easier for people to access films and TV shows when they want, and at a reasonable price.
Given the delays to the code of practice, one can't be blamed for wondering if there may be some in power who hope it will quietly vanish, and be forgotten by which ever party wins the May 2015 General Election.