Warning Letters Under UK's Three Strikes Plan Unlikely To Be Sent Out Before 2016 -- If Ever

from the let-the-beast-die dept

Techdirt readers may recall that over three years ago, the UK's Digital Economy Act was passed in totally disgraceful circumstances. Since then, almost nothing has been heard about it, as British civil servants grapple with the fact that this poorly-drafted law is almost impossible to implement in any sensible way. If you were wondering what is going on behind the scenes, James Firth has put together a fascinating post piecing together the information that he was able to glean. The main point is that the UK's "three-strike" warning letters won't be going out for years:

Assuming a 2015 general election [in the UK], and factoring-in time to establish the necessary body or bodies to oversee the operation of the notification and appeals systems, it will be 2016 at the very earliest -- and possibly 2017 -- before the first warning letters go out.
In other words, it's likely to be six or seven years after the Digital Economy Act was passed that it starts to come into operation, if ever. What makes that particularly ridiculous, is that the pioneer of the three-strikes approach, France, is clearly backing away from it. For the UK to plough on with an outdated and discredited scheme regardless, is just farcical. But it gets worse:
Government advisers are aware that the creative industries are not currently on the point of extinction due to online copyright infringement, and are also aware of the concerns raised by ISPs and civil rights groups.
That is, the delay in implementing the law has meant that the claim that piracy would kill the UK copyright industries if left unchecked has been shown to be demonstrably false, removing what little justification there ever was for bringing in such disproportionate and vindictive legislation. Given that fact, and the evidence from France that three-strikes simply doesn't work, there is only one sensible option here: for the UK government to stop wasting the public's money and to repeal the entire misbegotten law immediately.

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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2013 @ 1:57am

    average_joe, horse with no name and out_of_the_blue just hate it when due process is enforced.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2013 @ 2:48am

    hey are waiting until after the election, so that they can then find jobs for any MPs that lose their seats.
    /sarc

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2013 @ 2:49am

    In September 2010, I wrote to the minister responsible, Ed Vaizey and got a response, not written by him, which included

    "... whilst the specific figures may have been questioned there has not been a serious attempt from any side to deny that this widespread infringement is causing harm to the creative industries, which is why it should be tackled as quickly as possible"

    and also

    "Figures are not available for the losses from unlawful file-sharing in other content industries such as publishing as you rightly mentioned, business software or computer games, but it is clear that they are all suffering significant losses."

    Apparently if you discount all the people and studies that have pointed out the decided lack of harm to the creative industries from copyright infringement you end up with a situation where no 'side' has made a serious attempt to deny such. Maybe there had only been jocular attempts to do so.
    Also, lack of even estimates of loss, indicate significant losses.

    Of course back then they were careful to note that
    ".. the provisions of the Act are designed to build gathering of impartial evidence and real feedback on impact to all parties..."
    and that
    "This process will continue as Ofcom researches benchmark levels of copyright infringement and assesses the initial impact of the two initial obligations. These assessments from Ofcom will provide the sort of evidence that you want to see and that the Government agrees it would need to have before taking any steps that would impact on people’s ability to use their internet connections"

    Since then of course, Ofcom have submitted some findings
    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121126/00590921141/dear-riaa-pirates-buy-more-full-sto p-deal-with-it.shtml

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130513/11270823061/once-again-top-downlo aders-are-top-spenders-according-to-uk-govt-study.shtml

    No rush to change the legislation though... strange that.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2013 @ 3:14am

    something that isn't mentioned but is extremely relevant is the fact that any type of 3 strikes law is banned in every country in the EU. no one is allowed to be disconnected. it is totally illegal to do so!
    as for the figures from independent sources, the government refuses to take any notice of these, (even information and recommendations from the government sponsored investigator, Professor Ian Hargreaves, is often ignored) as does the entertainment industries, who actually try to make out that the losses 'are considerably higher' than the estimates already put forward. the important term here is 'estimates'. no one in their right mind can estimate losses. it is an unprovable amount. to then say, as i saw the head of the UK movie industry say 'the estimate should be much higher' is totally absurd!!
    France is about to disconnect their first 'file sharer', even though it is illegal. i am waiting, like others, to see the outcome. France could find itself in deep shit here and to no small amount, the entertainment industries too!!

     

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  5.  
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    Violated (profile), Jun 19th, 2013 @ 3:37am

    Doomed

    Good words indeed. It is also good to hear more from James Firth from Slightly Right of Centre when he is more knowledgeable about the Digital Economy Act than any other journalist that I have seen.

    There is no question now that the DEA in an official yet unspoken coma going nowhere quickly. They have already wasted around £5.8 million, many of the copyright side already saw it as the wrong answer early on, those that do want to use it insist on most of the scheme being funded by public tax funds, they stand to annoy hundreds of thousands of people, not to forget some innocent people being punished, Hadopi proves no economic gain where it could actually be harmful to media sales, the LSE report said the DEA offered 'the wrong balance', OFCOM prove that pirates spend more on media because they are more engaged, not to forget better educated with better paid jobs.

    So there is simply no good news here where the only answer now is to shut down and to repeal the DEA before more millions are wasted.

    I have always said the DEA was doomed where that is now without doubt.

     

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  6.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Jun 19th, 2013 @ 3:41am

    Had a think about it

    I just had to stop and think about all these "losses".

    It just seems like there are basically three types of "pirate".

    A. Those who cannot afford the content but want it.
    B. Those that can afford the content but ONLY consume it BECAUSE it's free.
    C. Those that can afford the content and WOULD purchase the content if it was not free.

    The problem with the content industry is that they count all three groups as a lost sale when ONLY group C is a lost sale.

    Then it gets even trickier. Group C is most likely the smallest group and as the amount of choice increases, Group C starts to migrate into Group B.

    Then my head nearly exploded when I began to wonder why this is even an issue. Watching the content via stream or download shouldn't even be a crime. It's the person who illegally distributed the content who is actually breaking the law.

     

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    Androgynous Cowherd, Jun 19th, 2013 @ 3:56am

    Of course...

    What makes that particularly ridiculous, is that the pioneer of the three-strikes approach, France, is clearly backing away from it. For the UK to plough on with an outdated and discredited scheme regardless, is just farcical.


    Of course it's farcical -- that's the UK's specialty! :)

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2013 @ 4:11am

    Re: Had a think about it

    You missed a major class:

    Those who want content but cannot get it by legal means, leaving piracy or do without as the only option.

    The content industry is very good at creating this cklass by regional releases, and withdrawing content from streaming sites when it is about to be broadcast on TV, cable or satellite.

     

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  9.  
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    Michael, Jun 19th, 2013 @ 4:20am

    That's ok.

    It's not like by the year 2016 there is any chance that there will have been any technology changes in the internet that would make this program irrelevant.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2013 @ 4:38am

    Re: Doomed

    " many of the copyright side already saw it as the wrong answer early on"

    Surprising then, that it wasn't even hidden that members of the copyright side, wrote the legislation.

     

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  11.  
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    Violated (profile), Jun 19th, 2013 @ 4:40am

    Re: Had a think about it

    Things are a lot more complex than that.

    I have known people who just want maximum access to any and all media where they achieve this by pirating, hacking or buying what they can. They would want an all you can eat service at a fair price... but still want more.

    Others just like the convenience, speed and quality of file sharing where once downloaded this new media slots in to their own personal media on demand system.

    Then others prefer a try before they buy system. Their shelves of DVD, Blurays and CDs are already full with purchased media they rate as an AWESOME collection because they avoid crap media by sampling it first.

    There are other reasons such as never wanting to fund the MAFIAA due to all the social harm they cause but I can offer one rare insight into piracy. This is that people are not immoral and corrupt where they know rights from wrongs and where if you talk to them they can offer very understandable motives even if you may not agree with their view.

    At the end the day people's morals have been proved when pirates, with access to unlimited FREE media, are the BIGGEST SPENDERS on media.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2013 @ 4:52am

    All in all its just another brick in the wall for Cameron against EU...
    DEA was a prestige project like SOPA/PIPA. In Denmark it was also on the table for quite some time far after the ban in EU. In the end it was clear that it would be almost impossible to make an even so-so law under EU acquis and even though the laws were written and rewritten several times by certain rightholders (mainly the music companies), a growing part of the artists came out against the law, which in the end made the cultural minister scrap it. The minister got huge amounts of animosity from those organisation and later resigned because he was receiving serious death threads and his way of handling a none-case was getting him political animosity too.

     

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  13.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jun 19th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    Lord Mandy must be crying in fear of seeing his baby being shot down before ever growing up... Speaking of which... Where is the moron these days? Is he dead yet?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2013 @ 7:21am

    Re:

    True: Paying an ISP full rate price per month and then receiving a 1 Byte per hour connection is not technically disconnected. Oh, everything is all good then.

     

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  15.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jun 19th, 2013 @ 7:25am

    Re: Had a think about it

    A. Those who can't afford
    B. Those who can afford but will only buy if it's worth the money
    C. Those who can afford but have a fixed budget meaning they need to give priorities while buying
    D. Those who can afford but refuse to feed the MAFIAA
    E. Those who can afford but are denied access (DRM, geo restrictions, large windows)
    F. Those who won't buy whatever it happens
    G. Etc


    There are interfaces among those but it's much more complex. I'd say the only case where the sales are truly lost are E and F. Even A can generate sales in the long term (think poor students who get decent jobs later). And E is only possible if you are enough of an idiot to place such restrictions.

    File sharing is natural. The lack of sales is a symptom of the MAFIAA's stupidity/bad business model.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2013 @ 12:34pm

    Re:

    He has retired with the £10mil he got from, er, well, er, it sort of appeared during his time in office......

     

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  17.  
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    DnB, Jun 19th, 2013 @ 2:24pm

    Re: Had a think about it

    You make a very good point, Josef. This is certainly something to consider but I would also reverse this train of thought and ask you to think about how much is lost from the lack of copyright enforcement. For every year these letters are not sent, millions of dollars are lost for the content creators whose work we all enjoy and consume. A three strike policy makes complete sense to protect the rights of creative artists and creators of all kind. However, when there is nothing backing up the legislation, what is the point? This three strike policy is fair but copyright infringers must be notified of their internet misuse to warn them of the consequences under the law. I do not hope that misusers are put to jail or fined because most are just ignorant of the impact of their actions on creators. Rather, I would hope that upon notification from the government that they have broken a copyright law they may become aware of their actions and fearful of consequences so they stop stealing content online. Like I said before, this policy makes sense but it is useless if it is not enforced.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2013 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re: Had a think about it

    Is this sarcasm?

    "For every year these letters are not sent, millions of dollars are lost for the content creators whose work we all enjoy and consume."

    I really hope it is, because most people are aware that there isn't an iota of evidence to support dollars being lost from a lack of copyright enforcement.
    In fact the only certain costs to the industries involved regarding copyright infringement are the large amounts of money wasted on bribery, or lobbying and Digital Rights Management that can not, does not and never will impact copyright infringement.

    Thankfully while these costs are large the massive amount of money coming into these industries from paying customers, more than makes up for it in a way that makes no sense to anyone who believes that copyright infringement means they can't make money anymore bcos LOOK PIRACY.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2013 @ 8:10pm

    Hi Mike,

    What's the point of pretending like you can keep me off of TD when you make a living out of ridiculing others who pretend like they can block people from doing what they want on the internet?

    Seriously. I know you see the irony. But what's the point? I post whatever I want, whenever I want. Your attempts to censor me are completely, 100% laughable and stupid.

    Let me ask you this… Why do you, a man who pretends like he loves anonymity and freedom on the internet, make a point to block TOR IP addresses whenever they are used to criticize you?

    Seriously. Are you so ashamed and insecure that you have to block TOR, the tool of freedom fighters who rage against dictators, to stop me from criticizing you?

    Are you so scared of criticism that you think it’s worth it to block TOR exit nodes rather than receive any criticism whatsoever?

    You’re just like China. And you fucking know it.

    You are doing whatever you can to censor those who challenge you. Just like China. And you fucking know it.

    Toodles!

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2013 @ 7:24pm

    Re:

    Only pirates and freetards use TOR. Why are you using TOR? You are such a fucking freetard, average_joe.

    Have a DMCA vote! You just hate it when due process is enforced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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