How Much Does It Cost Taxpayers To Implement Three Strikes?

from the this-seems-important dept

With the recent UN report condemning three strikes laws that kick people off the internet based on accusations (not convictions) of copyright infringement as a civil rights violation, there's been a lot more attention paid to the reasonableness of such laws. Of course, there are other factors to take into account as well, including the general cost to the taxpayer. Over in the UK, James Firth filed some Freedom of Information requests with the UK government to try to understand how much such things are really costing. He got an answer from Ofcom, the telecom/ISP regulator, who noted that it's expected to have spent about £5.9 million (or just under $10 million) by the end of this year on implementing the digital copyright enforcement measures in the Digital Economy Act (which are mostly about a three strikes plan). Firth notes that this is just one part of the government's costs, and he has other FOI requests out for other parts. He also notes, per Ofcom, that the agency hopes to get this money back from fees from copyright holders making use of the process, but that's not guaranteed. Definitely an interesting bit of information to explore, which usually gets ignored in these discussions.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 8:33am

    Here is another question

    Instead of asking how much it costs the tax payers, I would like to pose the following question:

    How much is this legislation likely to cost the overall economy?

    This means, how many services will have to shutter their websites in order to prevent people from falling victim to this legislation? How many people will move out of the country to bypass these laws and take their skills elsewhere? How many people will be blocked from purchasing from online companies or earning an honest living using the internet as a result of these laws?

    I want to see the governments of these nations try to quantify that.

     

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  2.  
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    Steve, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 8:36am

    Oops...

    Looks like someone forgot a semicolon.

     

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

  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 8:49am

    So it costs about $10M and they expect to make that back, meaning it will probably be free but there's a chance it won't be. This isn't much of a story. I'm sure you'll have another story here soon about how stupid IP laws are and how the sky is falling because of it. Must be slow today. Don't worry, I'm sure you'll make something up. You always do.

     

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  4.  
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    DEANE, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 9:00am

    @AC

    not much of a story when the UK government is wasting 10m of the taxpayers money? to me that is a serious amount.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 9:04am

    As if we don't have enough victimless crimes already.

     

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  6.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 9:05am

    Re: Oops...

    If it compiles, it is free of bugs. :-)

     

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  7.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 9:08am

    What do you mean victimless?

    These crimes aren't victimless.

    Copyright shakedown extortion letters aren't victimless.

    Getting your internet cut off after three false accusations isn't victimless.

     

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  8.  
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    sam sin, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 9:12am

    Re:

    as you always do, then!

     

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  9.  
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    herbert, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 9:14am

    if Ofcom thinks for 1 second that they will recoup any of the costs, they are in 'cloud cuckoo land'. they dont have a hope in hell!

     

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  10.  
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    That Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 9:23am

    You'd think they might consider the roaring success of Eircom's pilot program. I mean what is 300 letters sent to innocent people when the poor media companies business model needs more shoring up.

     

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  11.  
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    anymouse (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 9:30am

    Re: What do you mean victimless?

    Copyright infringement is 'victimless' unless you count the 'potential lost sales of the recording industry'....

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 9:36am

    Re:

    Orly? If there was even a possibility that you (or anyone) would not get 10 million dollars back, how flippant would you be about it?

     

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  13.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 9:59am

    Re:

    You miss the point that this is just to the Government. Aside from the costs to the ISPs in enforcing the DEA, as well as the costs (which will be passed on to consumers eventually).

    That £5mil figure is just the start, and is wasteful spending that could be cut, instead of the Surestart program, which has a noticable effect on children.

     

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  14.  
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    Bengie, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 10:29am

    Re: Re: What do you mean victimless?

    Don't worry, the loss of sales is usually overwhelmed by the increase of sales caused by free-advertisement.

    The only real non-commercial copyright infringement that hurts the industry is people actually selling copies. P2P is just advertisement.

     

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  15.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 11:14am

    Re:

    Who's getting the money back? The taxpayers? The government? Hell no!

     

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  16.  
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    anonymous, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 12:45pm

    Re:

    the music industry doesn't even pay their own artists, the very people that earn them money in the first place, so no chance of Ofcom getting anything back, at least not from them. serves them bloody well right! assholes!

     

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  17.  
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    anonymous, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 12:46pm

    Re:

    the music industry doesn't even pay their own artists, the very people that earn them money in the first place, so no chance of Ofcom getting anything back, at least not from them. serves them bloody well right! assholes!

     

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

  18.  
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    James Firth, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 1:06pm

    Recouping £6m...

    Look at it another way - the music industry expects to recoup this £6m investment somehow, either by suing a significant proportion of repeat "infringers" or getting more music sales.

    Since all studies to date (2 authoritative) plus anecdotal evidence (Guy sells a million eBooks at 99c - nets $350,000) show that lowering price is the key to making more money from legitimate download sales I'd say it's probably not option 2.

    So they need to recoup £6m from suing repeat "offenders". But by the tone of recent judgements they're going to have a job proving the ISP account holder is liable for what's happening on their network, so essentially that's £6m down the pan.

    And the government? Well they're locked in now too. If they don't implement this, it's £6m wasted that they'll never get back. At least when warning letters start landing on doormats the taxpayer is going to start seeing some returns (all but the £215,626.49 sent on non-reimbursable items).

    So yes, I think it's a big deal.

    @JamesFirth

     

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  19.  
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    Mr Big Content, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 9:44pm

    You Cannot Put A Price On Law Enforcement

    How much money is it worth to sleep easily in your beds at night? That has a value that is more than mere money. So to try to measure anti-piracy efforts in those terms is absurd.

    After all, a multi-billion-dollar industry deserves some consideration, donít you think?

     

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


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