Ofcom to tackle illegal downloaders

 

Illegal downloaders face a "three strikes and you're out" system under plans unveiled by Ofcom.

The communications watchdog's draft code is an attempt to crack down on online piracy and encourage internet users to download music and films legally.

Industry bodies will monitor file-sharing sites and pass on information on illegal downloaders to the biggest internet service providers (ISPs).

They will then write to customers informing them of allegations they have infringed copyright.

If customers get three or more letters within 12 months, copyright holders, such as record labels or film studios, can seek a court order allowing them to be identified so they can face legal action.

Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey said they had to be able to "protect their investment".

He said: "They have the right to charge people to access their content if they wish, whether in the physical world or on the internet.

"We are putting in place a system to educate people about copyright to ensure they know what legitimate content is and where to find it."

Claudio Pollack, Ofcom's consumer group director, said: "These measures are designed to foster investment and innovation in the UK's creative industries while ensuring internet users are treated fairly and given help to access lawful content.

"Ofcom will oversee a fair appeals process and also ensure that rights holders' investigations under the code are rigorous and transparent."

The code will initially cover ISPs with more than 400,000 broadband-enabled fixed lines - currently BT, Everything Everywhere, O2, Sky, TalkTalk Group and Virgin Media - which account for more than 93% of the retail broadband market in the UK.

Customers will be able to challenge allegations through an independent appeals body but it will cost £20, which is refundable if the appeal succeeds.

Mike O'Connor, chief executive of Consumer Focus, said the £20 fee could deter people on "low-incomes" from challenging an allegation.

He said: "Copyright infringement is not to be condoned but people who are innocent should not have to pay a fee to challenge accusations."

PA

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in