Looking for help with the Online Safety Act - Ofcom consultations? Please get in touch. 

Digital Britain

Britain was traditionally influential in European policy for telecoms policy. It was a British Commissioner, Lord Cockfield, who established the Single European Market. Britain led the way in the establishment of a competitive European telecoms market. However, in leaving the EU, Britain has lost the ability to influence European policy in the future, and in 2022, Britain sadly finds itself no longer a major power, but instead has become an embarrassment for British representatives in international fora. The government is sunk deep in corruption, it blatantly lies, its law-breaking has led to mistrust among former allies. There are multiple posts, articles, and tweets to support this claim.

It's in this context that the British government is preparing a law to address regulation of the Internet. It's a law that will have far-reaching implications for the way the Internet will function in Britain, and will impact on web platforms overseas. I am referring of course, to the Online Safety Bill. As I write this, at the beginning of 2022, the Bill is only in draft form. How will it end up? Interestingly, in going through my old posts, I note that wrote in 2015 about a similarly -named Bill. It was the predecessor to this one. It never became law, but many of the provisions in it appear to have been taken forward into the 2022 version.

A number of the articles in this section discuss a previous policy, called the Digital Economy Act 2010. This was a law that mandated broadband providers to work with the music and film industries, in order to enforce copyright on the Internet. It was forced through in the dying hours of the Parliament before the General Election of May 2010. The measures involved the use of network technology to sanction users, with implications for the neutrality of the network, and the 'mere conduit' status of the network provider. The law was deemed unworkable and never implemented. That is a lesson that needs to be taken on board by all policy-makers in this field.

If you like the articles in this section, you may like my book The Closing of the Net.

If you are interested in the Digital Economy Act and copyright enforcement policy, you may like my previous books A Copyright Masquerade: How Corporate Lobbying Threatens Online Freedoms and The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the 'Telecoms Package'

Two of the six largest Internet Service Providers in the UK are mounting a legal challenge the 3-strikes law known as the Digital Economy Act (DE Act for short).  


TalkTalk, which has been consistent in its opposition to the DE Act, and BT, which has previously not taken action, have combined forces to  file papers in the High court. They are asking for a judicial review of the DE Act, which they claim failed to follow the correct legal procedures in respect of EU law. They do not specify the names of the directives, but they would appear to be referring to

Read more: UK ISPs demand judicial review of 3-strikes law

A qualifying copyright holder is a new concept under the Digital Economy Act. But what is it? And is Ofcom introducing a two-tier copyright regime, where those with the valuable rights get privileges and individual authors get side-lined?


Ofcom's Initial Obligations Code, the euphemistically obscure title for the UK's 3-strikes policy,  includes something called a Qualifying Copyright Holder.

 The definition is as obtuse and incoherent as everything in the Ofcom document, which outlines the implementation of the Digital Economy Act.  The draft order defines a "qualifying Copyright Owner" as one who has "has given an estimate of the number of copyright infringement reports it intends to make in a notification period to a qualifying internet service provider".  And it  adds that the qualifying copyright owner has to meet other obligations for paying towards the costs of the 3-strikes measures.

 What it means  is that the only rights-holders who will ‘benefit' under the 3-strikes measures are those who have a

Read more: DE Act: does the UK qualify for a 2-tier copyright regime?

In what looks to be an attempt to bury the bad news, Ofcom, the UK regulator has today released its draft 'Code' for the first part of the UK's 3-strikes/graduated response measures under the mis-named Digital Economy Act. Contrary to Ofcom's PR spin, the Code will hit small  ISPs in the medium-to-long term and will make it impossible to operate public wi-fi without censoring what users can access.

The Ofcom 3-strikes Code  precedes the 'technical measures'  to cut off or throttle Internet users,  which are intended under the Act to follow in 12 months.


 The  Ofcom Initial Obligations Code under the Digital Economy Act, vindicates  some of the predictions that have been floated in the past two-three weeks (see previous articles on iptegrity.com). It is a 3-strikes measure, where Internet users accused of copyright infringement by rights-holders will receive three warnings, with the threat that if they 'persist' they will be put on a blacklist and their name and contact details may be passed to the rights-holders for court action.

Whilst Ofcom is trying to soften the blow by saying that small ISPs will be excluded, this is  a distortion of the truth. 

The Code establishes that the 7 largest ISPs will be expected to comply with the Code at first, but that Ofcom will monitor file-sharing traffic and will require other ISPs to comply over time. The important clauses are 3.17 and

Read more: UK 3-strikes Code released: ISPs hit hard


Iptegrity moves on!

May 2024: Iptegrity is being re-developed to upgrade the Joomla software.

Please bear with us until the new site is ready.

Find me on LinkedIn

About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor: online safety, technology and human rights. In April 2024, I was appointed as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on online safety and empowerment of content creators and users. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for non-commercial use. Please link back and attribute Dr Monica Horten.  Contact me to use any of my content for commercial purposes.  

The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review