Anti-piracy deal frames creatives as the losers

An incoming anti-piracy initiative for the UK “does not demonstrate support for the creative industries,” despite ministers’ warm words to its practitioners in recent months.

Eversheds, a law firm, issued this alert in response to reports that Internet Service Providers and creative content-makers have finally agreed a plan to help combat piracy in the UK.

Initial details of the plan, seen by the BBC, suggest that four major ISPs will, from 2015, begin sending ‘educational’ letters to customers suspected of downloading content illegally.

But what will be an awareness initiative -- as the letters will point customers to legal download services -- will reportedly be capped in terms of letters per ISP, per year and per customer.

This is likely to disappoint the content-makers, notably film and music bodies that have brokered the deal, as such action is weaker than the measures they originally sought.

“Whilst this latest deal is a step forward, it is far from the enforcement regime requested by the creative industries,” reflected Neil Mohring, head of media law at Eversheds.

“The government has stated that it is behind the creative industries, but it has not demonstrated this in practice. An efficient and rigorous enforcement regime is key to the continued growth of the creative industries and must benefit both creators and intermediaries, such as ISPs, in the long term.”

As it currently stands, the initiative will be welcomed by the ISPs, said Mohring, as they have lobbied hard against the Digital Economy Act, which contains stricter measures, especially for repeat infringers.

Some commentators speculate that if the initiative fails to significantly reduce internet piracy in the UK, then rights-holders will likely respond by calling for the Act to be fully and quickly adopted.


May 21, 2014
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