Prove Piracy Losses Says Digital Economy Bill Amendment

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In the first sitting, dozens of proposed amendments to Britain's Digital Economy Bill started to move through the Lords committee stage yesterday. One interesting amendment put forward requires that when copyright holders inform ISPs of a file-sharing infringement, they must also put a value on it.

Yesterday, a “line by line examination” of Britain’s Digital Economy Bill took place during the first sitting of the House of Lords committee stage.

There are 74 proposed amendments to the Bill.

In terms of file-sharing, amendments are suggested to the section which obliges ISPs to inform their customers that an infringement has taken place via their account.

In addition to informing subscribers who have allegedly infringed themselves or subscribers who allow another individual to use their account to infringe, the following category is proposed:

“..infringement of the owner’s copyright appears to have taken place through peer-to-peer filesharing networks on a subscriber’s IP address;”

This means that all copyright infringements that occur on an IP-address will be attributed to the person who pays for the account.

As pointed out by PaidContent, this addition is “sure to rile campaigners who protest that IP numbers do not correspond to identity.”

However, another amendment asks for the removal of the clause which allows action to be taken against subscribers whose connection was used to infringe copyright by someone other than the subscriber.

Amendment 52, proposed by Lord Lucas, states that the copyright infringement reports sent to ISPs by rights holders should also set out “the value of the infringement on the basis described in the initial obligations.”

This is an interesting one. When an anti-piracy company working on behalf of the music and movie industries track an infringement, it is only possible for them to track a single infringement, for example, the uploading of one track, movie, or part thereof. It is impossible for them to prove any additional infringement took place, i.e uploading the same to others.

This means that not only will the reported loss per infringement be very low, but it could also force the rightsholders to claim that an upload to the anti-piracy company equates to a lost sale.

Amendment 71 from Lord Whitty asks for the section below to be completely removed;

…the number and nature of copyright infringement reports relating to the subscriber may be taken into account for the purposes of any technical measures.

Should the amendment be accepted, this suggests that taking technical measures (3 strikes, throttling) on the basis that a subscriber has been ‘caught’ multiple times, will be disallowed.

There are also amendments tabled to change a number of instances where the term “infringement” should be changed to read “infringement allegations”.

The next sitting of the committee stage will be heard January 12th.

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