Digital Top Stories

ERA chief calls for faster DEA implementation, Hunt also talks piracy

By | Published on Thursday 15 September 2011


The Chairman of the Entertainment Retailers Association yesterday called on government to speed up the implementation of the often controversial copyright provisions in the Digital Economy Act, arguing that ongoing delays in launching the sort-of-three-strikes system contained with that bit of legislation were costing the British music and DVD industries millions.

Paul Quirk added that since the DEA was passed into law in June 2010 the annual value of UK music and video sales has declined by £250 million, and that he believes a significant portion of that loss was down to the ongoing growth of online piracy.

Referring to the implementation of the DEA’s ‘graduated response’ process, Quirk told his organisation’s AGM yesterday: “The best information we have is that the first letters to suspected file-sharers will not be sent out until the second half of 2012 and disconnections of persistent pirates will not happen before 2013. This is unacceptable. We need action on internet piracy – and we need it now. Not all of the sales decline is down to piracy, but a substantial part of it certainly is and every further day of delay will only make those losses greater”.

Media regulator OfCom, who are set to manage the anti-piracy elements of the DEA, are still finalising the exact process for sending out warning letters to suspected infringers, while also working out what the ‘technical measures’ employed against those who ignore them will be (under the DEA, that won’t go as far as full on disconnection, as under the French system). Having suffered various set backs, it seems certain nothing will happen until 2012 now. Plus, of course, it remains to be seen whether three-strikes really has any impact on either piracy, or music and video sales, even once it’s fully in force.

The government hasn’t responded to Quirk’s calls as yet, though, as expected, Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt was talking about piracy yesterday. He told the Royal Television Society that Google et al should bloody well stop linking to websites that exist just to infringe copyright. I think Google will tell you it already is doing that, which is a result for Hunt if you think about it: so powerful is he, the world’s biggest search engine immediately listened to his speech, and had responded within minus nine months.

Hunt also called on advertisers to not buy ads with infringing sites, and credit card companies to refuse to take money on their behalf. I think the advertising industry and credit card firms are pretty much doing that already, too. So another speedy result for the Hunt man. Perhaps he should call for OfCom to get cracking with three-strikes, then it might turn out the letters started going out last year.