Revised ‘three strikes’ draft code issued by UK regulator

Posted On June 27, 2012
In Copyright in Cyberspace / Reply

Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, has revised its proposed code on ISP’s responsibility for online copyright infringements of their customers.

The code sets out a ‘three strikes’ procedure, whereby:

  • ISPs are required to maintain a list of customers who have been associated with three or more suspected online copyright infringements in any 12-month period;
  • that list, in anonymised form, must be disclosed to copyright owners on request;
  • armed with the ‘three strikes’ list, copyright owners can obtain a court order requiring the ISP to disclose the identity of customers on the list; and
  • once the identity of the customers is known, the copyright owner can sue them for infringement.

The revised draft code maintains these features, but varies them in a number of ways, including:

  • the evidence-gathering methods used by copyright owners must be approved by Ofcom
  • ISPs no longer have discretion to ignore copyright infringement allegations on the basis of “reasonable opinion”
  • the infringement notices sent to customers must identify the time of alleged infringements
  • the grounds on which a customer may appeal an infringement allegation are limited to those specified

The revised draft code, which is considered by many to be ‘tougher’ than the original, is open for comment until 26 July 2012.

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