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UK comms regulator Ofcom has confirmed that implementation of copyright infringement warning letters is unlikely to occur before mid-2014. Speaking at a Westminster Media Forum Seminar on Copyright regulation and combating piracy in the UK and Europe, Justin Le Patourel, Head of Copyright, Ofcom admitted that there would be a further delay to the process.
Updating delegates on the progress of the Digital Economy Act, Le Patourel noted that there had been a postponement of parliamentary debates to allow further discussion. Once parliament had approved the measures, a Code of Practice would need to be drafted and submitted for approval by the European Commission. An independent body would need to be set up to hear appeals, after which Ofcom would need to suggest tariffs for participating ISPs, as well as establishing legally-binding volumes on infringement levels.
He anticipated that such processes would not be in place, and appeal frameworks set up, before mid-2014.
Problem areas that had been highlighted as the process was receiving more detailed scrutiny included the need to clarify where infringement was being carried out without the Internet user being aware, such as usage of grandparents’ connections by their grandchildren; lack of secure connections allowing infringers to access Internet accounts other than their own, and the matter of ‘threatening’ letters from representatives of rightholders.
He drew attention to Ofcom’s recently-published, large-scale consumer study into the extent of online copyright infringement among Internet users, which he said would continue to inform the ongoing debate.