UK's Digital Economy Act Does Little, According to Conference

October 21, 2011 -

The United Kingdom's Digital Economy Act was supposed to make pirates shake in their boots, but most experts say that law has had little effect on illegal activity since it was introduced. Several experts converged on London to discuss why and the BBC examines all the take-aways. One of those take-aways is that the law currently languishes in Brussels, waiting for the European Commission to approve changes to who should ultimately pay for implementing it. The draft drawn up by Ofcom a year ago to lay out how it will be implemented is also sitting somewhere waiting to be acted upon, according to the BBC report.

The Digital Economy Act (DEA) was written by the Labour party government and rushed through parliament at the end of the party's power. While the law has seen many changes, it mostly serves as a "letter writing campaign" where suspected copyright infringers are warned about their activities. Three warnings leads to being put on a black list to possibly face some sort of legal action.

Trevor Albery, Warner's anti-piracy vice-president, told the conference that written warnings were only one avenue of its going battle against piracy. Now they are turning their attention to Google and Facebook, who they want to serve as police for the internet; rights holders want these companies to de-list sites that share copyrighted material.

In a recent speech UK culture minister Jeremy Hunt said that measures like these could be baked into the new Communications Act.

PRS for Music, which oversees rights issues for the music industry, is also looking at new ways of combating illegal content. Frances Lowes, its director of regulatory affairs, outlined a "traffic light system" they would like to see put on search engines to allow the public to distinguish between legal and illegal sites. The chances of Google doing that are probably somewhere between slim and none.

Rights holders are also finding quicker ways of blocking access to illegal sites at the ISP level.

Newzbin, a Usenet style service, will shortly be blocked by the UK's biggest ISP BT, following a successful court case brought by the movie industry. Of course, Newzbin has already created software to make it easy for users to basically unblock efforts at the ISP level. It is expected that other ISPs will soon face court orders to block the site.

Okke Delfos Visser, deputy general counsel for the Motion Picture Association of America could barely contain his excitement, telling the BBC:

"It is a criminal organization whose business model is based on wholesale copyright infringement."

While little victories have been won by rights holders in various European countries, most piracy groups are unphased by the threat of legal sanctions.

James Myring, from market research firm BDRC Continental reported that a new breed of "supapirates" remain unfazed. These "supapirates" are described as being tech-savvy, usually male consumers who delight in finding new ways to get at free content.

"They like the idea of getting around blocks and are happy to share what they get with friends and family as well as giving advice on how to do it," he said.

While rights holders in Europe may consider legal action the best course of action to deal with pirates, Simon Clark, head of intellectual property at law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, warned copyright holders that they need to "tread carefully" if they want to bring legal proceedings because some judges are not happy with the methodology used by many law firms.

Recent high profile cases brought by ACS: Law and Davenport Lyons put judges in no mood to support file-sharing actions. In both cases, judges usually found in favour of the defendants and the law firms ended up facing heavy fines.

"The courts will be protective of individuals. My advice would be tread very carefully," he said.

Source: BBC

Image provided by Shutterstock. All rights reserved.


 
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james_fudgeprh99: Whether you agree with the article or not, fighting alleged censorship with censorship is hella lame10/02/2014 - 4:27am
james_fudgewhoever made that decision at Intel will regret it later on down the road. Boycotts are tricky business.10/02/2014 - 4:26am
prh99The unflattering characterization "They don’t know how to dress or behave." & "‘Games culture’ is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction..." probably didn't help.10/02/2014 - 1:52am
prh99Probably not many as it was purely a vindictive move. The headline alone was plenty of ammo, but for those that did read and complain..10/02/2014 - 1:42am
Andrew EisenI wonder how many of those who complain about that article actually read past the headline.10/02/2014 - 1:37am
prh99http://intel.ly/1tjh1AH http://bit.ly/1rGPHOY http://intel.ly/Zu6go9 it isn't surprising "Gamers are over" didn't go over very well.10/02/2014 - 1:34am
Papa MidnightCan you parlay that to #WriteAGawkerArticle? The cesspool of horrid crap over there extends far beyond Kotaku.10/02/2014 - 12:34am
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Neo_DrKefka#WriteAKotakuArticle "#GamerGate is responsible for breaking millions of Intel powered macbooks after angry SWJ hipsters slam them shut" or "How Toxic Processors from Intel causes sexism. "10/02/2014 - 12:15am
Neo_DrKefkaSo Intel has dropped Gamesutra due to there support of your Gaming News Cabal Fudge. Anti GamerGate article soon? Or like your e-mails are you hoping this narrative dies down soon?10/02/2014 - 12:14am
Andrew EisenWell, time to eat some dinner and work on the Hyrule Warriors guide until bedtime!10/02/2014 - 12:11am
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quiknkoldAndrew : Mostly I decided there were better people who could explain what was going on, or fight any battles that may come up. so I decided not to talk about it anymore.10/01/2014 - 8:49pm
Andrew EisenI don't recall you promising that. GamerGate is not a taboo discussion here. Anyway, thanks for the link. Very interesting.10/01/2014 - 8:47pm
quiknkoldI know I promised to not talk about Gamergate again, but Intel just pulled sponsership from Gamasutra over it http://techraptor.net/2014/10/01/gamasutra-intel/10/01/2014 - 8:40pm
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