ISPs to pay a quarter of net piracy policing costs

Darren Allan

September 14, 2010

The Department for Business Innovations and Skills (BIS) has published a document detailing how the cost of enforcing online copyright infringement, as laid out by the Digital Economy Act, will be broken down.

And the bad news for broadband users is that the cost of notifying alleged copyright transgressors will be shared between the rights holders and ISPs, in a ratio of 75:25 respectively.

That’s bad news for the consumer, because the extra fiscal burden it places on service providers is likely to be passed on in the form of increased subscription charges, sooner or later.

Only the major ISPs affected by the Act will be subject to these new overheads, in other words, those with 400,000 or more customers. That includes BT, TalkTalk, Sky, Virgin, O2 and Orange.

The Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) is predictably disappointed with this conclusion. reports that ISPA Secretary General, Nicholas Lansman, stated: “ISPA has consistently argued for the beneficiary pays principle and is disappointed with today’s announcement. Full cost recovery for serious law enforcement cases is an established rule and ISPA sees no reason why it should not be the case here.”

The government said that placing part of the costs on ISPs gave them an incentive to ensure they adopt the “most effective and efficient process in processing CIRs and issuing notifications”.

BIS also made it clear that no fee would be imposed for a consumer appealing against an allegation of copyright infringement, and we should hope so too. Although it did add that a fee could still be introduced in the future, should there be a “significant number of vexatious appeals”.

The department didn’t mention what it would do if the film and music industry end up bringing forth a significant number of vexatious accusations on the general public.


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