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OfCom anti-piracy code expected next month

By | Published on Friday 18 May 2012


Media regulator OfCom should publish its long awaited anti-piracy code next month, according to a statement from the Department For Culture, Media And Sport earlier this week.

This is the long awaited guide to how the government will expect internet service providers to assist copyright owners in the fight against piracy, and will bring into action – in theory at least – various provisions set out in the 2010 Digital Economy Act, including the three-strikes system of sending warning letters to suspected file-sharers with the ultimate threat of sanctions against those who ignore the warnings that they are infringing copyright.

As much previously reported, there have been various delays getting the copyright elements of the DEA up and running, despite OfCom publishing a first draft of its code back in 2010, not least legal efforts by BT and TalkTalk to overturn the copyright elements of the Act.

Ironically, the one bit of action considered by the DEA but not actually enacted by the legislation – the issuing of web-block notices forcing net firms to block access to copyright infringing websites – has been achieved under existing copyright law before those measures actually included in the digital act have been instigated.

It will be interesting to see what OfCom’s final code says, and how quickly what it sets out is likely to swing into action. According to ZDNet, OfCom says that, while a June publication of its code seems realistic, the processes and rules in it will still be subject to EU scrutiny. A spokesman for the DCMS recently admitted it is unlikely three-strike warning letters will be sent out before spring 2014.