Ofcom Releases Draft ‘Three-Strikes’ Guidelines for UK Internet Users

Ofcom, the regulations body in charge of media in the UK, has released details of a proposed plan that forces British ISPs to send warning letters to subscribers accused of copyright infringement by video game, music, film and other media companies. Under these proposed guidelines, individuals who receive three letters in a 12-month period would have their personal data, downloading and filesharing history handed over to the copyright owners to help them prepare for a lawsuit.

The guidelines may sound familiar because they are pretty much the same as what Ofcom proposed in 2010. The new rules would apply to any ISP with more than 400,000 customers, and it would require that copyright owners file their complaints within one month of "gathering evidence" of illegal infringing activity. The guidelines also offers an appeal process for those accused of infringement; an accused individual would get 20 days to appeal at a cost of £20 ($31). That money would be refunded if the appeal proves to be successful.

The new "three-strikes" system would not be implemented until March 1, 2014 – but it is expected to be approved later this year.

If there are any saving graces in the new draft guidelines, it is that rightsholders have to foot up to 75 percent of the cost of the actions and they have to collect and retain a lot of data on users. British judges will also have to deal with the fallout of these new rules. All British citizens and the ISP's can hope for is that some legal precedents are set. Of course that means that some people who have been accused of copyright infringement will have to suffer through the legal process.

Source: GIGA OM

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