Legal Update

Copyright Infringement – Copyright – Copyrights -  Internet law – Internet Lawyers - Digital Economy Act 2010

 

The Digital Economy Act ("the Act") came into effect in August 2010. It addresses online infringement of copyright in relation to Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) reporting such infringement to copyright owners. The copyright owner may send a report to the ISP about the copyright infringement, provided there is a code in place that allows the copyright owner to do so. We have detailed below what ought to be included in the report to the ISP. The Act mainly deals with OFCOM’s powers and sanctions. Ceratin provisions of the Act replace parts of the Communication Act 2003.  It is meant to deal with:-

 

·         Online infringement of copyright

 

·         Penalties for infringement of copyright and performers' rights

 

·         Dealing with internet domain registries; to make provision about the functions of the Channel Four Television Corporation; to make provision about the regulation of television and radio services; to make provision about the regulation o

 

·         Rights in relation to electronic publications; and for connected purposes.

 

The main sections are below and there is alo a link to the Act at the end of this update.

 

 

 Online infringement of copyright: obligations of internet service providers - 124A Obligation to notify subscribers of copyright infringement reports

 

“(1)     This section applies if it appears to a copyright owner that—

 

(a)     a subscriber to an internet access service has infringed the owner's copyright by means of the service; or

 

(b)     a subscriber to an internet access service has allowed another person to use the service, and that other person has infringed the owner's copyright by means of the service.

 

(2)     The owner may make a copyright infringement report to the internet service provider who provided the internet access service if a code in force under section 124C or 124D (an “initial obligations code”) allows the owner to do so.

 

(3)     A “copyright infringement report” is a report that—

 

(a)     states that there appears to have been an infringement of the owner's copyright;

 

(b)     includes a description of the apparent infringement;

 

(c)     includes evidence of the apparent infringement that shows the subscriber's IP address and the time at which the evidence was gathered;

 

(d)     is sent to the internet service provider within the period of 1 month beginning with the day on which the evidence was gathered; and

 

(e)     complies with any other requirement of the initial obligations code.

 

(4)     An internet service provider who receives a copyright infringement report must notify the subscriber of the report if the initial obligations code requires the provider to do so.

 

(5)     A notification under subsection (4) must be sent to the subscriber within the period of 1 month beginning with the day on which the provider receives the report.

 

(6)     A notification under subsection (4) must include—

 

(a)     a statement that the notification is sent under this section in response to a copyright infringement report;

 

(b)     the name of the copyright owner who made the report;

 

(c)     a description of the apparent infringement;

 

(d)     evidence of the apparent infringement that shows the subscriber's IP address and the time at which the evidence was gathered;

 

(e)     information about subscriber appeals and the grounds on which they may be made;

 

(f)     information about copyright and its purpose;

 

(g)     advice, or information enabling the subscriber to obtain advice, about how to obtain lawful access to copyright works;

 

(h)     advice, or information enabling the subscriber to obtain advice, about steps that a subscriber can take to protect an internet access service from unauthorised use; and

 

(i)     anything else that the initial obligations code requires the notification to include.

 

(7)     For the purposes of subsection (6)(h) the internet service provider must take into account the suitability of different protection for subscribers in different circumstances.

 

(8)     The things that may be required under subsection (6)(i), whether in general or in a particular case, include in particular—

 

(a)     a statement that information about the apparent infringement may be kept by the internet service provider;

 

(b)     a statement that the copyright owner may require the provider to disclose which copyright infringement reports made by the owner to the provider relate to the subscriber;

 

(c)     a statement that, following such a disclosure, the copyright owner may apply to a court to learn the subscriber's identity and may bring proceedings against the subscriber for copyright infringement; and

 

(d)     where the requirement for the provider to send the notification arises partly because of a report that has already been the subject of a notification under subsection (4), a statement that the number of copyright infringement reports relating to the subscriber may be taken into account for the purposes of any technical measures.

 

(9)     In this section “notify”, in relation to a subscriber, means send a notification to the electronic or postal address held by the internet service provider for the subscriber (and sections 394 to 396 do not apply).”

 

 

124B Obligation to provide copyright infringement lists to copyright owners

 

“(1)     An internet service provider must provide a copyright owner with a copyright infringement list for a period if—

 

(a)     the owner requests the list for that period; and

 

(b)     an initial obligations code requires the internet service provider to provide it.

 

(2)     A “copyright infringement list” is a list that—

 

(a)     sets out, in relation to each relevant subscriber, which of the copyright infringement reports made by the owner to the provider relate to the subscriber, but

 

(b)     does not enable any subscriber to be identified.

 

(3)     A subscriber is a “relevant subscriber” in relation to a copyright owner and an internet service provider if copyright infringement reports made by the owner to the provider in relation to the subscriber have reached the threshold set in the initial obligations code.”

 

124C Approval of code about the initial obligations

 

“(1) The obligations of internet service providers under sections 124A and 124B are the “initial obligations”.

 

(2) If it appears to OFCOM—

 

(a) that a code has been made by any person for the purpose of regulating the initial obligations; and

 

(b) that it would be appropriate for them to approve the code for that purpose,

 

they may by order approve it, with effect from the date given in the order.

 

(3) The provision that may be contained in a code and approved under this section includes provision that—

 

(a) specifies conditions that must be met for rights and obligations under the copyright infringement provisions or the code to apply in a particular case;

 

(b) requires copyright owners or internet service providers to provide any information or assistance that is reasonably required to determine whether a condition under paragraph (a) is met. “

 

For details on the Digital Economy Act http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2010/ukpga_20100024_en_1

 

If you require advice on intellectual property, copyright infringement or internet law, please contact us at enquiries@rtcooperssolicitors.com

 

Visit http://www.rtcoopersiplaw.com,  http://www.rtcoopers.com/ebusiness.php or http://www.rtcoopers.com/practice_intellectualproperty.php

 

© RT COOPERS, 2010. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.

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