Ofcom outlines "three strikes" policy on piracy

Draft code for anti-piracy measures to go into effect March 2014

Ofcom has unveiled new measures to fight illegal downloaders, which will come into effect in March 2014.

The draft code will see those choosing to download content illegally receive warning letters from their internet service providers. Three letters in a year will see their records handed over to copyright holders, and could then be used against them in legal proceedings.

All the major UK ISPs will be covered by the code, BT, Everything Everywhere, O2, Sky, TalkTalk Group and Virgin Media. Internet users will have the right to appeal contents of the warning letters.

"It is essential that government creates the right conditions for businesses to grow," said creative industries minister Ed Vaizey.

"We must ensure our creative industries can protect their investment. 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. The Digital Economy Act is an important part of protecting our creative industries against unlawful activity."

The draft code is expected to pass by the end of 2012, with a period of consultation ending July 26.

"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," added Ofcom's consumer group director Claudio Pollack.

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

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Latest comments (10)

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 5 years ago
Peerblock. VPNs. Proxies. Tor. They should all still work, right?

Yeahhhhh... The only people who are going to get caught are the clueless. And I think once people are sent one letter, they're going to be so terrified that they'll educate themselves pretty damn quick.

But maybe I'm wrong. :)
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Sam Brown Programmer, Cool Games Ltd.5 years ago
Drat, now I need to figure out my neighbour's wi-fi password again. ^_^

Edit: Apparently, if you're accused of piracy, you'll have to pay £20 to dispute it. Given the vast amount of false positives this is going to throw up, that is bang out of order.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sam Brown on 26th June 2012 4:45pm

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Doug McFarlane Co-Owner, KodeSource5 years ago
That's very comforting! To know private industry can manipulate the government to do its bidding. And to know that ISPs routinely allows access to your personal surfing habits. And that you are guilty until you prove otherwise.

Well, as long as they are only doing this to 'foster investment' into the industry, I guess we shouldn't worry about our rights or privacy. Weird, the government represents the people (in 'theory'), and I suppose it was the people that wanted extra measures instilled to bring more money to the gaming industry. And to create criminals out of the average 10 year old. Yeah! Finally the government is listening!

I'm not promoting piracy, but who can consciously agree that the proposed 'measures' are the answer?
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Show all comments (10)
James Prendergast Research Chemist 5 years ago
@Sam Brown.

The problem is how will you dispute it without giving over your whole collection of internet-capable devices? I can't think of any proof that would otherwise suffice.
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gi biz ;, 5 years ago
Ahh that's why Microsoft wants to open stores in the UK :D And that's what they want to sell, Windows and Office to non-corporate users! lol
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James Verity5 years ago
@James Prendergast I presume one could always supply sales receipts of purchase of the product they claim you have pirated...

next it will be everyone that downloads something is obviously pirating...

Edited 3 times. Last edit by James Verity on 27th June 2012 12:32am

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 5 years ago
@ James V

I'm waiting for the day when my ISP tells me I must be downloading illegally due to the amount of data I'm pulling down, only for them to find out I bought a new hard drive and am installing my Steam Library. :D
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James Verity5 years ago
@Morville O'Driscoll don't forget you'll have to pay £20 and prove it... btw: they haven't said if you get your £20 back if you win...

my connection gets a right hammering every time I replace my iDevice or Computer (even the OS is a digital download as is a system restore) even more so with these digital downloads, and not forgetting iCloud and upload storage services people use these days...

what people should do is boycott any companies products that uses this new system... that will make them go bankrupt pretty quick... show them targeting people this way is wrong...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Verity on 27th June 2012 10:29am

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James Prendergast Research Chemist 5 years ago
I have to say that I've never kept the sales receipt for any CD,DVD, book or games purchase. The obvious exception is my digital purchases which all come with a confirmation email which I *do* keep.... ironically, though, that wouldn't be required since the digital service themselves are proof of my purchase!

I think the burden of proof for the defendant is pretty high here....

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Prendergast on 27th June 2012 10:47am

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Stephen Woollard Online Infrastructure Specialist, Electronic Arts5 years ago
OK, deep breath, try not to rant...

There are many reasons why people go to places like PirateBay, despite the ISP block which has done nothing by drive millions more there to see what the fuss is all about, and one of those is ease of use. I know people who visit the site frequently merely to see what's available and not through any conscious desire to rip off content, and therein lies the rub - it's easy.

I would challenge the content providers to recreate a legal version of PBay; a single site or service that has all the content you could wish for, with a variety of payment options, PayPal, subscription, single download, whatever, and bring that ease of use to the paying customer.

Imagine something like Steam or Origin where you could download (legally) any game, or film, TV show, music, books and so forth; an overlay paid for by all the content providers and hosting everything under the sun, a one stop shop with a simple interface and multiple payment options - wouldn't you use it? I know I would.

The problem is of course that everyone knows the best way to do it, and getting the petulant children that large organisations act like to actually get together and create something of real value that would benefit everyone is unfortunately just pie in the sky. All the providers want their system to be the one everyone uses, Valve want you to use Steam, EA wants you to use Origin, Apple wants you to use iTunes and so on. The problem is all of these companies want to use that data for other purposes, they want to tie you in to their system, make you their customer and all the time not seeing that providing people what they really want, ease of use, is the way to generate the revenue they're missing.

There is a subset of people who will pirate content no matter what you do, so trying to stop those people is almost pointless. The trick here is to make the legal route easier than piracy, or as much as possible anyway. This is also why DRM is counter-productive - the only people affected by DRM are the ones who bought the content legitimately.

I could go on, but I'm getting irritated, so /rantoff. Apologies for the Wall'o'Text™ but this is something I am passionate about (in case you hadn't noticed).
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