Digital Economy Act and Ofcom: Pigs and Lipstick
The BBC summarised the announcement of the Great Repeal Bill in the Queen’s Speech thus:
Freedom (Great Repeal) Bill
Will limit the amount of time that DNA profiles of innocent people can be held on national database. Will tighten regulation on the use of CCTV cameras, remove limits on right to peaceful protest. The storage of DNA is a power devolved to the Scottish Parliament. The Bill would adopt the Scottish model.
Queen’s Speech 2010: Bill by bill
The one that’s missing is the Digital Economy Act: draconian, unworkable, unfair, undemocratic and unjust.
There’s something else that’s missing from the Coalition’s hit list. Before the election, the one quango that all the pundits expected to go was Ofcom. Since the election this dead cert has disappeared from view. It doesn’t seem likely now that it will be abolished.
These two things are related, because it is Ofcom that is charged with much of the donkey work in enforcing the DEA. So if the DEA stays, then Ofcom must also.
Today we have confirmation of sorts. Ofcom has released its Online Infringement of Copyright and the Digital Economy Act 2010, Draft Initial Obligations Code; and is asking for comments by 30 July 2010.
The DEA imposed new obligations on Internet Service providers (“ISPs”) to send notifications to their subscribers following receipt of reports of copyright infringement from Copyright Owners. ISPs must also record the number of reports made against their subscribers and provide Copyright Owners on request with an anonymised list which enables the Copyright Owner to see which of the reports it has made are linked to the same subscriber – also known as the ‘copyright infringement list’.
The DEA gave Ofcom duties to draw up and enforce a code of practice (“the Code”). The DEA is very clear on how Ofcom should implement many elements of the measures, but where there is discretion the interests of citizens and consumers are central to Ofcom’s approach. We propose a system of quality assurance reporting to ensure that where allegations are made against subscribers they are based upon credible evidence, gathered in a robust manner. We also propose that the independent appeals body, which Ofcom is required to establish, should adopt specific measures to protect subscribers during the hearing of appeals, including a right to anonymity.
…We welcome responses to this consultation by 30th July 2010.
Online Infringement of Copyright and the Digital Economy Act 2010
The Draft also includes sample templates for the three strikes letters:
If you have an interest in how the DEA will operate, then it is worth reading this document. If you think you can influence the Obligations Code, then send in your comments by the end of July. But the truth is, no amount of tinkering with either the Act or Obligations Code will do much good. Pigs and lipstick come to mind. The only thing to do with this Act is dump it completely and come up with something better and more reasonable.