The UK's Getting a Three Strikes and Your-ISP-Throws-You-Under-a-Bus Law Targeting Pirates

By Sam Gibbs on at

Ofcom's detailed its draft "three strikes" policy for pirates plundering from UK connections. Thankfully, it's just a letter in the mail, or at least the first one will be. Three letters in a year and your anonymous details will be passed to big media's lawyers for them to have their wicked way with you.

Of course, copyright owners will then have to go through the trouble of getting a court order for your full details, but once your ISP has let them know you're thieving their stuff, it'll be a bit like having a massive target painted on your back.

You can appeal a piracy report, but it'll cost you £20 a pop. You will be refunded if you win, but I reckon it's going to be pretty hard to prove you didn't download the latest episode of Game of Thrones just like everyone else. It could also be really bad news for public hotspots like cafes, which are at the mercy of what their users get up to -- we already know porn could spell doom for free public Wi-Fi.

It's highly likely that this is also going to force the cost of your broadband up too. ISPs will be tasked with sending out the letters, which aren't going to be cheap, and we all know that that kind of cost gets passed directly to the consumer. The good news is that rights holders will have to pay the bulk of the costs up front, with as much as 75 per cent being their share rather than the ISP's.

Ofcom reckons that by the time the infrastructure is set up to support all this, and the draft policy gets through Parliament, it'll be March 14th 2014 before those nasty letters start landing on people's doormats. I guess it's a relatively fair system. Three infringements in a year and then your details get passed onto the lawyers. At least you're not getting cut off entirely. It does sound an awful lot like an Internet licence along the lines of your driving licence though -- three points on your licence and you're screwed. [The Guardian]

Image credit: Piracy from Shutterstock