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By: MarkJ - 2 August, 2010 (12:20 AM)
ispa ukThe UK Internet Service Providers Association ( ISPA ) has called on Ofcom to soft launch its Initial Draft Code of Practice for tackling internet copyright infringement by broadband ISP customers. The code is a requirement of the recently passed Digital Economy Act 2010 (DEA).

The code itself sets out how and when Internet Service Providers (ISPs) covered by the code will send notifications (warning letters), based on Rights Holder (RH) Copyright Infringement Reports (CIR), to their subscribers to inform them of allegations that their accounts have been used for unlawful file sharing (P2P) activity (Ofcom put its initial code up for consultation at the end of May).
Ofcom's Online Infringement of Copyright Consultation
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/copyright-infringement/
The ISPA's response to Ofcom's consultation on the initial obligations code is centred around the lack of time given to construct it. The Code is due to come in to full effect in January 2011 but the ISPA believes that this is too soon for it to be effective.

Nicholas Lansman, ISPA Secretary General, said:

"A soft launch of the Code will mean that a more effective, proportionate and fair Code can be developed on the basis of early experience of a notifications system. This will provide Parliament with opportunities for scrutiny before a fully-fledged Code is introduced.

Ofcom has been put in a difficult position by the Act in terms of the timetable it has been handed, but ISPA is concerned that a code that is rushed out will have a disproportionate impact on the Internet industry and its consumers."

The ISPA fears that too much is being put on the shoulders of ISPs and a soft-launch could potentially alleviate some of that. This kind of approach typically refers to introducing something in stages rather than all at once, which allows productive data to be gathered before making it generally available.

However the government have shown no signs of changing their plan and ultimately Ofcom has to follow the mandate set out before it, which could make it quite difficult to achieve any adjustment to the implementation process. The consultation closed on Friday 30th July 2010.
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