The British Film Policy Review Panel Wants American-Style Anti-Piracy Action in the UK

By Sam Gibbs on at

In the aftermath of SOPA, the British Film Policy Review Panel is calling for the implementation of the UK’s Digital Economy Act (DEA) to be hurried along to prevent the downfall of the British film industry. It’s also asking ISPs and content owners to set up a US-style anti-piracy system.

Don’t panic, it’s not quite as horrendous as SOPA, but in draft form it currently implements a three strikes law similar to what’s found in France today. After receiving three warning letters in a single year over “suspected” copyright infringement, the user would be blacklisted and ISPs may be forced to suspend their internet access. What’s more copyright owners will be given access to the blacklist, which will put names to IP addresses. The real issue with the draft DEA is that it hinges on suspected, not proven to be a copyright infringer. There is no due process if it’s just a case of thought to be, not proven to be guilty.

Of course nothing is going to happen until Ofcom gets around to publishing a finalised code of conduct for the ISPs, which was expected to be published before the end of 2011, but never materialised.

Whether you actually agree with the DEA’s three strikes system -- I’m still not sure myself – it’s nowhere near as bad a piece of legislation as SOPA. Still, the Film Policy Review Panel is suggesting that British ISPs should “play their part” in the combat of piracy and set up a US-style “Copyright Alert System” between rights holders and providers.

Let’s hope that’s the only thing the powers that be think of taking from the US. I really don’t want something horrendous like SOPA or PIPA to turn up here. It’s bad enough it’s being suggested in another country, let alone our own soil. [The Register]

Image credit: Piracy from Shutterstock