Professor Hargreaves restores the balance

Posted on May 23 2011 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Professor Hargreaves restores the balance

The UK’s IP (Intellectual Property) law has been knowingly out of date for many years and, as the Internet becomes of increasing importance to our day to day lives and our business practices, an overhaul of the IP laws which were first conceived several hundred years ago are well overdue. This, coupled with the forthcoming implementation of the DEA, means the Government has had little choice but to review the current legislation. It therefore called upon Professor Ian Hargreaves of Cardiff University to conduct an in depth review and last week he published his much anticipated report.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Hargreaves estimates that changes to the Intellectual Property systems could add £7.9 billion to the UK’s economy. He stated “In recent years the UK has failed to make the changes needed to modernise copyright law, for which we will pay an increasing economic price as we make our way into the third decade of the commercial internet. My recommendations are designed to enhance the economic potential of the UK’s creative industries and ensure that the emergence of high technology businesses, especially smaller businesses, in other sectors is not impeded by our IP laws.”

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

DEA: The weaknesses of plan B

Posted on Apr 07 2011 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on DEA: The weaknesses of plan B

Towards the end of last week, news emerged that an alternative option was being discussed in order to replace the existing Digital Economy Act’s website blocking measure. The UK government’s Ministers of Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey has officially invited the Open Rights Group (ORG), rights holders and ISPs to look at a new ‘plan B’ approach which could mean ISPs blocking access to websites deemed to facilitate Internet copyright infringement based on a central blacklist.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Plans were first formalised through a meeting late February with rights holders and ISPs, which led to the creation of a working group that would investigate site-blocking systems. The working group is said to be meeting the first week of April. Jim Killock, Executive Director of the ORG said the discussions had been prompted by delays to the DEA.

Such plans would see responsibility for the monitoring of websites being passed to the newly established independent body that would manage a blacklist of piracy websites. ISPs would then voluntarily filter out the websites said to be infringing copyright. The benefit of this, of course, would be to copyright holders who would only need to make a complaint once to the independent body rather than to each ISP. An initial list of around 100 illegal downloading sites has already been drawn up by rights holders, including the likes of Pirate Bay and Newbin2.

The plan B approach has been compared to the Internet Watch Foundation’s (IWF), which collects and investigates reports of child abuse material online. It then distributes a blacklist of web addresses to ISPs who voluntarily use it to filter virtually all UK consumer Internet access. The new plans would mean ISPs would not be responsible for checking complaints made by copyright holders against websites.

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

How much more can the DEA withstand?

Posted on Mar 28 2011 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on How much more can the DEA withstand?

The controversial Digital Economy Act (DEA) has once again hit the headlines with news that it has been officially delayed until spring 2012 at the earliest. The news will come as no surprise to many within the industry, as the complex Act has been plagued by debate at every stage since its original conception.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

“Since the DEA passed into law there has been a considerable amount of work to do to implement the mass notification system. Secondary legislation setting out how the system will be paid for and how it will work has to be passed by Parliament. Ofcom also has to set up an appeals process” said a spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

The latest delay can be attributed to a number of factors including the ongoing debate over the allocation of costs between rights holders and ISPs (Opinion.enta.net: DEA passes buck to ISPs),  ongoing concerns regarding using IP addresses to ‘identify’ alleged offenders , the latest review of website blocking proposals, the Judicial Review brought by BT and TalkTalk which started this week and of course the problems Ofcom has encountered with its code of practice.

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

Poll: Should the demise of ACS:Law affect the DEA?

Posted on Feb 17 2011 by Claire Dutton-Merrills | 1 Comment

In a recent article published by Thinkbroadband.com, they state that Judge Birss, has raised questions over the reliability of the DEA using IP addresses to identify copyright owners. The judge, who is well known for the case against ACS:Law and MediaCAT, declared that using IP addresses would only identify a wireless home broadband router and questioned whether leaving a wireless network unsecured, equated to authorising it to be used for file sharing.

We think the demise of ACS:Law shows that judgements based on IP addresses are unreliable and open to abuse. Should this therefore force the government to rethink the DEA, which could potentially open the UK up to more ACS:Law type activities in the future.

We would like to know what you think about Judge Birss’ concerns. Therefore, we have added a new poll asking for your feedback. Please also feel free to leave us a comment below.

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

DEA passes buck to ISPs

Posted on Jan 31 2011 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on DEA passes buck to ISPs

Back in September 2010, the UK Government Department for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sports (DCMS) announced its plans to force ISPs and right holders to share the costs associated with the Digital Economy Act (DEA), which was unsurprisingly met with much hostility from ISPs.  It would now appear the Government has laid out its secondary legislation in parliament, in its continuing bid to tackle online copyright infringement.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

The Digital Economy Act which, let’s remember, was hastily passed back in April 2010 in the pre-election wash-up, poses to tackle unlawful file sharing with a three strikes rule by sending out warning letters and possible suspension from the Internet.  The proposed law will shoulder ISPs with 25% of all costs, from Ofcom’s costs, issuing notification costs, qualifying and initial costs and case fees for the appeals body. Rights holders will take on the remaining 75%.

According to Communication Minister Ed Vaizey, the Digital Economy Act sets out to “protect the creative economy from online copyright infringement, which the industry estimates costs £400m a year”. However, our frustration comes with Vaizey’s further comments where he says these measures are expected to “benefit industry by around £200million a year and as rights holders will be the main beneficiaries, we believe our decision on costs is fair to everyone”. What? Everyone? Unless I’ve misunderstood his statement, there are two parties footing the bill here – the right holders and the ISPs. Yet it’s only the rights holders that benefit, to the tune of an estimated £200million a year. I am so keen to understand what benefits the ISPs are getting in return for shelling out for 25% of the costs. Perhaps Vaizey thinks it’s the satisfaction of knowing we’ve helped make the world a better place. Wake up, it’s getting tougher to succeed in our economy as it is! The last thing ISPs need is to be told is they now have to be penalised for providing access to the Internet, especially at a time when the Government wants ‘the market’ to bring faster access to everyone in the next few years!

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

That was the year that was!

Posted on Dec 22 2010 by Elsa Chen | Comments Off on That was the year that was!

What an eventful year 2010 has proven to be! We saw a new coalition Government take power; we lost yet another World Cup; we saw a number of terrible natural disasters including the Haiti earthquake and the Pakistan floods; volcanic ash grounded our planes; students rioted over tuition fees; the iPhone 4 and iPad were launched; and the winter Olympics were held in Vancouver. But enough about all that – what happened in the Internet industry? Our recap of 2010 highlights some of the most topical issues that affected the industry this year.

Elsa Chen, General Manager

Elsa Chen, General Manager

The most controversial of them all
Let’s start with arguably the most controversial story of the year – the Digital Economy Bill. We started covering this highly controversial topic back in 2009 but during 2010 we saw this Bill become an Act (DEA) as it was hastily pushed through the pre-election wash-up, much to the dismay of its opponents, which include Entanet. However, there is some good news. A judicial review called for by BT and TalkTalk was granted in November and is expected to be held in April 2011.

Unsurprisingly, the DEA’s supporters are opposing the review and continue to insist that it is satisfactory. Just last week news broke that FAST (Federation Against Software Theft) has organised an event at the House of Commons on 12th January 2011 to ‘discuss’ the topics surrounding the DEA well before the full hearing is expected.

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

DEA – Finally, time for some common sense!

Posted on Nov 11 2010 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on DEA – Finally, time for some common sense!

Since the moment the DEA (Digital Economy Act) was passed, when it was hastily rushed through the ‘wash-up’ prior to the general election earlier this year, Entanet and other opposing bodies have been calling for a review. Yesterday the High Court finally announced that a judicial review has been granted.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

The leaders of the DEA opposition have undoubtedly been BT and TalkTalk who jointly requested this review through the courts, arguing the bill was passed without proper scrutiny. Throughout the process they have been supported by a number of ISPs and wholesale communications providers including Entanet, aswell as organisations such as the Open Rights Group (ORG). Commenting on yesterday’s announcement TalkTalk’s Executive Director, Andrew Heaney, said:

“We are very pleased that the Court has recognised that our concerns about the copyright infringement provisions in the Digital Economy Act should be considered in a full hearing. The Act was rushed through Parliament in the ‘wash-up’ with only 6% of MPs attending the brief debate and has very serious flaws.

The provisions to try to reduce illegal file sharing are unfair, won’t work and will potentially result in millions of innocent customers who have broken no law suffering and having their privacy invaded.

We look forward to the hearing to properly assess whether the Act is legal and justifiable and so ensure that all parties have certainty on the law before proceeding.”

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

UPDATE: Irish ISP stands up to music firms

Posted on Oct 18 2010 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on UPDATE: Irish ISP stands up to music firms

Back in May we discussed how Eircom, Ireland’s largest ISP, had been forced into agreeing to implement a 3 strikes policy to tackle illegal copyright infringement following legal action by the IRMA (Irish Recorded Music Association). At the time we were concerned that such a ruling would mean other Irish ISPs would soon be forced to follow suit. However news this week suggests the contrary.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

UPC, Ireland’s second largest ISP, has won its own battle against four major record companies, namely Warner Music, Universal Music, Sony BMG and EMI Records. The High Court in Dublin ruled “there was no precedent in Irish law to force ISPs to identify and disconnect people accused of illegally downloading copyrighted files” meaning UPC cannot be forced to take part in the system.

The current three strikes policy implemented by Eircom consists of an informal warning at the first stage, a stern warning letter at the second and then disconnection form the Internet for 7 days at the third stage. If the user persists then disconnection for one year may be applied.

However, in his ruling, Mr Justice Peter Charleton condemned piracy stating: “This not only undermines the [record companies’] business but ruins the ability of a generation of creative people in Ireland, and elsewhere, to establish a viable living. It is destructive of an important native industry.”

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

Update: U2 – Stick to the Music!

Posted on Sep 06 2010 by Darren Farnden | 2 Comments

Back in January 2010, we criticised U2 front man Bono for warning all creative types to beware of the evils of the Internet and especially us greedy ISP types when it came to illegal file sharing.  We recommended Bono should stick to singing.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

It would appear that U2’s manager, Paul McGuinness, didn’t read our opinion as he’s now thrown in his two cents worth of comment within the August issue of GQ magazine. In it he also slams ISPs for “decimating the music industry” and profiteering from online file sharing, whilst also being the cause of recorded music sales falling.

Like Bono, Mr. McGuinness believes illegal file sharing is the reason for ISPs’ increasing profit margins by suggesting “free content has helped fuel the vast profits of the technology and telecoms industries”.  However, as we stated in our original Opinion article ‘Bono – Stick to Singing’ (opinion.enta.net: Bono – Stick to singing), in reality broadband customers continue to demand the fastest broadband at the lowest price which squeezes ISPs’ margins. Those of us within the Internet industry will also know that it is actually more costly to support such infringers due to the extra bandwidth they consume. Our increasing revenues are more likely to be down to the innovative new technologies we deploy and the additional services we provide to add value to customers’ experience.

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

DEA: The debate continues…

Posted on Aug 05 2010 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on DEA: The debate continues…

In April 2010 the controversial Digital Economy Bill (DEB) was passed through the parliamentary wash-up and hastily implemented into law, much to the annoyance of many ISPs, Internet users and industry bodies. Then in May we saw history made with a new coalition government taking power. We were initially hopeful that the new government would put right the wrongs of the rushed DEA (Digital Economy Act) but have since seen little in the way of progress. Yet despite this lack of government action, over the last three months the industry news has continued to provide a steady stream of DEA related updates. We take a look at what’s been going on and provide you with an update.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

To repeal or not to repeal?

It appears the proposed tackling of copyright infringement is still the main focus of unease within the DEA. At the end of June, Liberal Democrat MP, Julian Huppert, tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) to repeal sections 9 – 18, the sections that cover the issue of illegal copyright infringement. Unfortunately the EDM gained little support and appears to have dropped off the radar.

Share this article:
Share
Read More »