Irish ISP ordered to stop using ‘three strikes’ system against illegal file-sharers: “The Irish data protection watchdog has ordered the country’s largest internet service provider (ISP) to stop using its ‘three strikes’ system for identifying and warning alleged illegal file-sharers, according to media reports.”
(Via OUT-LAW News.)
Committee launches a new inquiry into the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights Online – UK Parliament: “Committee launches a new inquiry into the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights Online
10 November 2010
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee issues a call for evidence on the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights Online
The Committee will consider the new framework for the protection of intellectual property rights online that is being established under the Digital Economy Act, and the extent to which it is a reasonable and sufficient response to the challenges facing creative industries and individuals in digital markets. Issues the Committee will be considering include:
The implementation, practicality and likely effectiveness of the relevant measures contained in the Digital Economy Act. In particular:
* Whether the new framework has captured the right balance between supporting creative work online and the rights of subscribers and ISPs.
* Whether the notification process is fair and proportionate.
* The extent to which the associated costs might hinder the operation of the Act.
* At what point, if at all, consideration should be given to introducing the additional technical measures allowed for under the Act.
More broadly, the scope for additional activity and new approaches to ensure that original work is appropriately rewarded in the online environment, including the issues raised by the Government’s review of the intellectual property framework. In particular:
* Intellectual Property and barriers to new internet-based business models, including information access, the costs of obtaining permissions from existing rights-holders, and ‘fair use.’
The Committee is inviting written submission on the above and other matters relevant to the inquiry. A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to email@example.com and have ‘The Protection of Intellectual Property Rights Online’ in the subject line. Submissions should be received by Wednesday 5 January 2011.
Guidance on submitting written evidence
It assists the Committee if those submitting written evidence adhere to the following guidelines:
Each submission should:
* state clearly who the submission is from, i.e. whether from yourself in a personal capacity or sent on behalf of an organisation
* be about 3,000 words in length / run to no more than six sides of A4 paper;
* as far as possible comprise a single document attachment to the email;
* begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
* have numbered paragraphs;
* be in Word or Rich Text format (not PDF) with as little use of colour or logos as possible.
Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.
It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence would send their contact details separately in a covering email in a block of text laid out vertically. You should also be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Though there is a strong preference for emailed submissions, those without access to a computer should send a hard copy to:
Culture, Media and Sport Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank London
A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website.
Please also note that:
* Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this.
* Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed submission, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
* Evidence submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
* Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the Internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
* Committees do not normally investigate individual cases of complaint or allegations of maladministration.
* Once submitted, no public use should be made of any submission prepared specifically for the Committee unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee.
For up-to-date information on progress of the inquiry visit the Culture, Media and Sport Committtee’s inqury pages”
ISPs will pay quarter of copyright notification costs, says Government: “Internet service providers (ISPs) will have to bear a quarter of the costs of the copyright protection systems to be set up under the Digital Economy Act (DEA), the Government has said. ISPs have objected to the decision.“
(Via OUT-LAW News.)
OUT-LAW News, 08/07/2010
Two of the UK’s biggest ISPs will ask the UK courts to scrutinise the controversial Digital Economy Act to determine whether or not it conflicts with existing laws on privacy and electronic communications.
BT and TalkTalk have asked the High Court to conduct a judicial review of the law, which was passed amidst the horse-trading and rushed compromise of the controversial ‘wash up’ process that took place just before this year’s general election.
That process allows the passing of potentially large numbers of laws as long as the opposition does not seek to block them. This gives the opposition significant power and deals are made between Government and opposition without the usual Parliamentary or public scrutiny.
The progress of the Digital Economy Act was already seen as rushed before it entered the wash-up period and it has been criticised for imposing significant obligations on ISPs without proper consideration of the effects of its measures.
The law allows for the passing of regulations that would, for the first time, force ISPs to disconnect their customers if intellectual property rights holders believed that an account was used for the unauthorised sharing of copyrighted material.
BT and TalkTalk said in a statement that they are ’seeking clarity’ from the High Court on the legality of the law’s provisions before spending significant sums on systems to implement them.
‘The companies share a concern that obligations imposed by the Act may not be compatible with important European rules that are designed to ensure that national laws are proportionate, protect users’ privacy, restrict the role of ISPs in policing the Internet and maintain a single market,’ said the statement.
The UK has laws that implement EU directives on data protection and electronic privacy that control how organisations gather, process and use information online. They also govern what information can be gathered from electronic communications and say that ISPs should not be responsible for material sent over their network unless informed about infringements of the law.
The ISPs want the High Court to rule on whether the Digital Economy Act conflicts with existing laws based on these directives.
‘If clarity is not gained at this stage then BT, TalkTalk and other industry players may end up investing tens of millions of pounds in new systems and processes only to find later that the Act is unenforceable and the money wasted,’ the companies said in a statement.
‘The Digital Economy Act’s measures will cost the UK hundreds of millions [of pounds] and many people believe they are unfair, unwarranted and won’t work,’ said TalkTalk chairman Charles Dunstone. ‘It’s no surprise that in Nick Clegg’s call for laws to repeal, this Act is top of the public’s ‘wish list’.’
‘Innocent broadband customers will suffer and citizens will have their privacy invaded. We think the previous Government’s rushed approach resulted in flawed legislation,’ he said. ‘That’s why we need a judicial review by the High Court as quickly as possible before lots of money is spent on implementation.’
Technology lawyer Struan Robertson of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM, said that once a law has been passed by the country’s elected representatives in Parliament there is little that unelected judges can do to change it.
‘It is not in the power of the courts to throw out a primary Act of Parliament,’ said Robertson. ‘All the court can do is make a declaration that a law is in breach of other obligations. That declaration would put pressure on Parliament to revisit the Act.’
‘This law was rushed through Parliament and didn’t get the scrutiny it deserved. It’s a bad law, in my view. Unfortunately, it won’t be easy to change it unless and until there is political will to do so,’ he said. ‘The courts can’t just strike it down.’
‘It’s disappointing that we feel the need to take action but we feel we have no choice,’ said BT Retail chief executive Gavin Patterson. ‘We have to do this for our customers who otherwise run the risk of being treated unfairly. Our dispute is not with the current Government but with the previous administration which pushed this through without due process. We need clarity about whether this legislation is compatible with important EU laws.’