Is copyright infringement still a problem?

Posted on Jan 19 2017 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Is copyright infringement still a problem?
Categories : Copyright, File Sharing

Four of the UK’s largest ISPs will commence the sending of ‘educational notices’ to customers suspected of unlawful copyright infringement within the next few weeks as part of the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (VCAP), but is unlawful copyright infringement still a major problem in the UK? Is this latest scheme necessary? And will it effectively solve the issue?

This all stems back to the days of the highly controversial DEA (Digital Economy Act) from 2010 which proposed a ‘3 strikes’ plan to send threatening letters to identified infringers and even disconnect persistent offenders. Instead this much ‘friendlier’ approach aims to educate users about lawful alternatives. It’s also important to note that this scheme is voluntary and only encompasses the largest 4 UK ISPs at present – BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Sky Broadband.

However since the initial controversy of the DEA and its transition into the current VCAP scheme the market has changed quite significantly, which leads us to wonder if copyright infringement is really that big a problem now, or if the increasing popularity of so-called lawful alternative services like Netflix and Spotify have inadvertently reduced the problem without Government and industry intervention?

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2014 – The Best Bits of Opinion

Posted on Dec 17 2014 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on 2014 – The Best Bits of Opinion
Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

As avid readers of our Opinion blog we’re sure you’re already aware of the major issues that have plagued the industry over the last 12 months, but just in case you missed any our latest eBook gives you a quick recap of the best, and most important, bits.

It covers the ongoing data retention debacle, the increasing pressure on ISPs regarding security, the legal protection for net neutrality, the unexpected ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling, the never ending fight against piracy and the expected role of ISPs, ISPAs plans to improve the ADR system and a look at the key trends of 2014!

You can download it for free

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Digital karma strikes for U2!

Posted on Sep 17 2014 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Digital karma strikes for U2!
Categories : Copyright, File Sharing

Way waaay back in 2010 U2 frontman Bono annoyed many within the industry with his ranting warnings about the ‘evils of the Internet’ and he put the blame firmly in the hands of us ‘greedy ISP types.’

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

He was of course talking about piracy stating “A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators — in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us — and the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.” “Rich service providers” and “swollen profits”- we wish!

In response we, amongst other ISPs and industry bodies, argued that rather than blame the Internet for the downfall of their industry and continue to fight against it, artists should embrace the opportunities it can bring and utilise it to help distribute and promote their work. After all, the Internet is just the latest vehicle for piracy and copyright infringement – kids had been recording direct from the radio and duplicating tapes long before the days of the World Wide Web! However, despite our best efforts, our advice appeared to go unheard and the debate continued on.

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The A-Z of industry issues (part 2)

Posted on Jul 02 2014 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on The A-Z of industry issues (part 2)

Here it is, what you’ve all been waiting for……the second part of our A-Z, or should that be K-Z of industry issues!

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

K – Kids and protecting them online

How do we effectively protect our children online? Where does parental responsibility end and parental controls begin? It’s a fine balancing act and an important one. Whilst we commend the largest consumer focused ISPs for providing free parental controls to help guard against unsuitable material for minors, it’s not the end of the story. This needs to be backed up with education and parental responsibility. This site contains some useful advice: http://www.saferinternet.org/safer-internet-day.

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The A-Z of industry issues (Part 1)

Posted on Jun 25 2014 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on The A-Z of industry issues (Part 1)

We cover a great deal of topical industry matters on this blog so as a quick overview and update, here is an (almost) complete A-Z to highlight some of the most controversial ones that we discuss regularly and that you might be interested in or at least should be aware of…

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

A – ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution)

Back in 2012 OFCOM announced its plans to change the current ADR system for ISPs to make it more consistent. With the current system, very similar complaints can be dealt with very differently leading to dissatisfaction for the ISPs and the complainants. Little news has followed this announcement as OFCOM continued to gather feedback on the proposals but in March 2014 ISPA echoed our original perspective and called for changes to the cost allocation of the disputes as ISPs are usually left to pay for the ADR charges even when they win their cases. This is one to keep an eye on and we will provide updates as further news is announced.

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Arrrrrr – there be threatening letters ahead!

Posted on May 14 2014 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Arrrrrr – there be threatening letters ahead!

Since the early days of the DEA we (and the rest of the industry) have debated the proposed and highly controversial methods of dealing with persistent copyright infringers, or ‘pirates’ as they’ve been referred to. The DEA planned to track persistent offenders by IP address (first mistake) and send them a series of warning letters advising them to cease their activities or potentially face disconnection of their service and possibly legal action from the copyright holders.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

However, with changes in Government, a number of judicial reviews and ongoing industry argument, this part of the DEA hit delay after delay and as of yet still hasn’t been implemented – until now that is…

Ok, so it’s not actually the DEA that’s coming into force. It’s a voluntary agreement (VCAP – Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme) between the largest ISPs and several members of the entertainment industry which will see ‘persistent infringers’ receive a series of warning letters advising them to stop. They hope to have the system up and running before the end of the year.

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Time for the DEA to get its Act together

Posted on Jun 06 2013 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Time for the DEA to get its Act together

Things have been quiet on the Digital Economy Act (DEA) front for a long time now. Our last update (Opinion: Is the DEA old before its time?) indicated that the three strikes warning letters would not ‘go live’ until early 2014, a whole 4 years after the Act was passed. Now it would seem more delays could be afoot.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

The DEA was rushed through parliament at the end of Labour’s reign of power, receiving little discussion before becoming an Act – much to the dismay of ISPs and other parties across the country. It outlined a 12 month monitoring period of infringers, who would subsequently receive three warning letters before being ‘cut-off’.

Three years on from the Act being passed and it would appear the three strikes policy is no closer to being implemented, with a finger in the air guess being 2016 at the earliest. A never ending barrage of disputes over its practicalities and the sharing of costs between Rights Holders and ISPs has been its main delay.

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Is the DEA old before its time?

Posted on Jul 12 2012 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Is the DEA old before its time?

We’re not fans of the DEA, that’s no secret, but it’s been two years since its ‘back door’ entry into law and we have seen very little progress. In fact last month, with the launch of it’s Initial Obligations Code, Ofcom announced that the controversial three strikes warning letters will not commence until 2014 – a whole four years after the law was passed! With so much notice, surely the most prolific infringers will have discovered even more ways to circumvent the DEA by the time it’s enforced. So we ask, is the DEA old before its time?

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

The Digital Economy Act (DEA) was the brain child of Lord Mandelson who controversially passed it into UK law through the pre-parliamentary wash-up. This meant it received very little parliamentary discussion before becoming an Act – much to the dismay of ISPs and other objectors across the country. However, two years on and we’re still waiting for one of the most debated aspects of the DEA to be implemented – the three strikes policy. This will see copyright infringers receive warning letters and potentially face court action from the copyright holders and even disconnection from the Internet if they persist with their unlawful behaviour.

In Ofcom’s recent announcement of its Initial Obligations Code it states: “Ofcom will now consult on the revised draft code. Subject to further review by the European Commission, it will be laid in Parliament around the end of 2012. ISPs will then prepare to meet their obligations, and Ofcom will appoint an appeals body. Ofcom currently expects the first customer notification letters to be sent in early 2014.”

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UPDATE: ACTA rejected by European Parliament

Posted on Jul 06 2012 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on UPDATE: ACTA rejected by European Parliament

For once common sense has shone through and the European Parliament has rejected the controversial ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). An overwhelming 478 voters rejected the treaty with just 39 for and 165 abstentions, which means that neither the EU nor any member states can join the agreement. The result was met with smiles and applause as well as a number of representatives holding up boards that stated “Hello democracy, Goodbye ACTA”.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

This highly controversial agreement, which was yet another of Mandelson’s bright ideas (well in terms of pushing it through the EU anyway), was finally rejected because of its potential impact on civil liberties and due to the ambiguity of the agreement. From the start this agreement has been discussed in secret with little access to the terms of the agreement or the draft documents, until they were leaked that is.

Once the detail (or lack of it) became known, ACTA and its US counterpart SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) prompted international ‘black outs’ from major websites and organisations including Wikipedia.

The rejection of ACTA came as no real surprise to many as the Parliament representatives had in fact been advised to reject it by the ACTA Rapporteur, David Martin who said: “My strong recommendation is that we reject the ACTA treaty. This time the devil is in the lack of detail. A vague text is dangerous and we cannot guarantee that civil liberties will be protected.”

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Update: ACTA quietly slips into the UK by the back door

Posted on Feb 08 2012 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Update: ACTA quietly slips into the UK by the back door

Yet again the UK Government has pushed through controversial legislation without proper scrutiny in order to satisfy the demands of the powerful entertainment industry and to the detriment of the Internet industry.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Previously it was the DEA that was passed through hurriedly as part of the wash-up. Now ACTA (the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement), which aims to establish an international trade agreement to combat the issue of counterfeit goods and establish international standards for copyright enforcement, has been passed through as part of an agriculture and fisheries meeting!

Perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised, after news in December that the Council of the European Union had approved the treaty even though the secretive way in which this agreement has been treated was criticised. Worryingly this agreement was signed just weeks after several high profile websites including Wikipedia observed a ‘blackout’ in protest of the US Government’s proposed SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), a similar Act that has since been postponed.

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