Earlier in the year, OFCOM held a consultation on a draft initial obligations code of practice designed to reduce copyright infringement on the Internet. The code, entitled ‘Online Infringement of Copyright and the Digital Economy Act 2010’ will:
- enable those whose copyright has been violated to require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to notify their subscribers if the Internet Protocol addresses associated with them are reported by copyright owners as being used to infringe copyright;
- require ISPs to keep track of the number of reports about each subscriber; and
- require ISPs to compile, on an anonymous basis, a list of those who are reported on above a threshold to be set in the initial obligations code.
The copyright owner will be able to apply for a court order to obtain personal details so that they can take action against those included on the list. It is proposed that the person whose copyright is infringed will have to pay 75 per cent of the cost of notifying the online infringer and the ISP will have to pay 25 per cent.
The Digital Economy Act increases the maximum penalty for online copyright infringement to £50,000.