Three Strikes?

December 30, 2009 · Posted in Digital Economy Bill, Media 

This bill has been dubbed by the media the “three strikes” law. It is worth clearing up the misunderstanding behind this.

The bill does not contain provision for “three strikes”

There is nothing in the bill making clear how long you would have to infringe for or how many times you would have to infringe before your ISP could be forced to disconnect you. The relevant section of the bill is 124(H):

The Secretary of State may at any time by order impose a technical
obligation on internet service providers if the Secretary of State
considers it appropriate in view of—
(a)
an assessment carried out or steps taken by OFCOM under
section 124G; or
(b)
any other consideration.

Section 124G requires only that the content owners be consulted, that the technical measures be effective and that they be in accordance with a “code” – which has not yet been written. And this could well be moot, thanks to the “any other consideration” clause shown above. It could well be that this would be used to give people “three strikes”, as a “last resort” as Mandelson suggested – or not. There is no language in the bill protecting people from the over-reaction of the media industry or mistakes by the copyright holder, since there is no requirement for proof and the bill does not specify any particular delay between warning and disconnection.

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