WASHINTON, November 23, 2009 - British Internet service providers are alarmed by government efforts to enact legislation they claim would place an unfair burden on them to go after alleged copyright infringers online.
The U.K. Internet Services Providers' Association said Friday they are concerned that legislation currently being considered would “penalize the success of the Internet industry and undermine the backbone of the digital economy.”
TalkTalk, one of the U.K.’s largest ISPs, said the proposed bill would enable the owners of copyrighted content to send “offending” internet protocol addresses to internet service providers in order to match the address to a broadband connection.
The ISP would then be asked to send out warning letters to account holders. If the broadband user continued to offend the copyright holder the ISP would be required to impose a penalty on the customer such as disconnecting the user from the Internet.
The British ISPA said it was “disappointed at the threat of technical measures and calls for the reserve powers, which include the imposition of technical sanctions on users, to be dropped from the bill. ISPA members believe measures such as filtering would be ineffective, expensive, difficult to implement and could have unintended consequences such as restricting access to legitimate services.”
The U.K. government “considers it appropriate for ISPs to be reimbursed for costs incurred when assisting in serious criminal investigations, such as terrorism or kidnap, but not for costs incurred pursuing an alleged civil infringement on behalf of a commercial interest,” said Nicholas Lansman of ISPA.
Last week the first reading of the bill took place before the House of Lords. The date of the next reading of the legislation has not been announced.
ISPA “members believe that an obligation must be placed on rightsholders to pursue targeted legal action against persistent infringers. ISPA supports the view of consumer groups that strong deterrents already exist, such as the threat of litigation in the courts, and thinks that this should be recognized in the legislation,” it states. The group further said rightsholders should shoulder some of the financial burden and reimburse ISPs for any reasonable costs.
“ISPs provide timely and accurate assistance to law enforcement with serious criminal investigations, under a system of cost recovery, and therefore should not incur costs for pursuing alleged civil infringements,” the group said.
The group said the bill gives too much control to the Secretary of State who would have the power to make “specific recommendations on costs and impose an obligation on ISPs to use technical sanctions.” An independent oversight body would be a better option, ISPA holds.
TalkTalk wrote in a blog entry Friday that the bill is a “backward step in the efforts to reduce illegal filesharing while further threatening the rights of the consumer” by giving the government the ability “to punish people they think are infringing copyright without having to prove their case in court.”
“It doesn't matter how many websites are blocked, how many services are shut down or how many individuals are pursued, people will always find ways to access copyrighted content for free,” stated Charles Dunstone, CEO of TalkTalk.
Dunstone said his company “believes that to reduce illegal filesharing, music and film fans must be encouraged back to legal services through education and by making content available in a form and at a price that people find acceptable.”
In the meantime, TalkTalk pledged to its customers, “If we are instructed to disconnect your account due to alleged copyright infringement we will refuse to do so and tell the rightsholders we'll see them in court.”
According to recent news reports in the U.S., Verizon Communications has agreed to forward copyright violation notices on behalf of Hollywood studios such as NBC Universal.
- Broadband Roundup: Justice Clarence Thomas Expresses Regret on Brand X, Clearview AI Hacked, Online Privacy Act
- Registration Available for Digital Infrastructure Investment at Broadband Communities Summit on April 27, 2020
- In the Quest to Build a Better Map, Many Non-Profits and Consultants Bring Creativity and Grit to Broadband Data
- America is Either ‘In Very Good Shape’ or Has ‘Big Catch-Up’ in 5G Race with China
- Broadband Roundup: Tesla Cars Ain’t Driverless, Suspicious Bernie Sanders Facebook Posts, ReConnect Awards
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
Digital Inclusion3 weeks ago
New Technology of Augmented Reality, Including Eye Control, Enable Greater Access By Disability Community
Broadband's Impact1 month ago
Todd Foje: Can High-Speed Broadband Finally Bridge the Gap Between Rural and Urban Communities?
Broadband Data4 weeks ago
Despite Promising Gains in Connectivity, Report from Broadband Now Highlights the Extent of the Digital Divide
5G1 month ago
Gordon Smith: Can a 5G Fund Connect Rural America at 21st Century Speeds?
Expert Opinion3 weeks ago
An Open Letter to Gwynne Shotwell, Elon Musk and Starlink Leadership: Three Reasons to Make Starlink Open Access for America’s Local ISPs
Broadband's Impact4 weeks ago
Rural Healthcare Providers Could Be Surprised by FCC’s Recent Changes to Rural Healthcare Program
Expert Opinion4 weeks ago
Jeff Grappone: State of the Union Address Is No Longer the Political Equivalent of the Super Bowl
China1 week ago
Tech Officials Diagnose Excessive Trump Actions as Product of ‘Huawei Derangement Syndrome’