It is now obvious that the implementation of the copyright infringement measures in the   UK’s Digital Economy Act has been delayed. But it seems that the rights-holders are becoming impatient. The question is whether their impatience will get them what they want.

 By now we should have seen Ofcom’s final Code of Practice to implement the first part of the Digital economy Act. It hasn’t appeared, and that has to be taken as an indication of some kind of problem. Ofcom did have a deadline of March this year, which it has clearly missed.

 The industry grapevine is now suggesting that this delay will continue for a while. We will not see any notices going under under the DE Act copyright measures until at least 2016. That is, after the next general election.

 In response, it seem the rights-holders have  been putting pressure on. They are asking  once again for voluntary talks with Internet Service Providers (ISPs).  Meetings between  the two sides have already begun. It’s understood that  the UK’s largest  ISPs  have come to the table.

  It’s not clear whether the talks are being hosted by the government, or if they are private discussions held outside of government offices.

 But it does seem that these are separate from the another set of  talks to pressure the ISPs into censoring the Internet for ‘parental control’ purposes, that have been hosted by the Culture Secretary  and mother, Maria Miller. 

 It probably should not be a surprise that the rights-holders might levy this kind of pressure on ISPs, since it was already known that they are  getting cold feet about the costs of the DE Act. Following court orders that removed the ISP’s  liability for  the costs for Ofcom and the appeals procedure,  and heaped them onto the rights-holders, the DE Act measures are starting to look rather expensive.

 However, previous ‘voluntary’ talks between ISPs and rights-holders on copyright enforcement have a history of failure, in the UK and in Brussels ( see Commission slams the lid on EU Hadopi talks ) .   We wait with interest, on the outcome.


For the politics of the UK’s copyright enforcement law, known as the Digital Eoncomy Act, see my forthcoming book  A Copyright Masquerade: How Corporate Lobbying Threatens Online Freedoms

This is an original article from and reflects research that I have carried out. If you refer to it or to its content, please cite my name as the author, and provide a link back to Media and Academics – please cite as Monica Horten, 2013, DE Act delays prompt fresh ‘voluntary’ talks, in, 21 June 2013. Commercial users - please contact me.