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Ofcom illegal file-sharing law gets new ‘three strikes’ policy for 2014

Illegal downloaders will now be faced with a three strike rule if found guilty of breaching the new Digital Economy Act (DEA).

The three strike policy is set to roll out in 2014 and will see ISPs sending letters out to customers who are found guilty of downloading pirated content like music and films. If a customer receives 3 letters in a 12 month period, their information could be passed on to the rights holder (subject to a court order) who will then have the option to pursue legal action over copyright infringement.

If customers receive a letter and believe they have been wrongly accused, they must appeal within 20 working days… oh and pay £20 too. Something that small businesses who offer free internet access may not be too keen on.

Furthermore, the grounds on which customers can make an appeal aren’t too clear. You can try and make sense of the terms of the legislation here.

Innocent until proven guilty

Jim Killock from The Open Rights Group stated:

“Some people will almost certainly end up in court having done nothing wrong.”

Mike O’Connor, chief executive for Consumer Focus added:

“”Copyright infringement is not to be condoned, but people who are innocent should not have to pay a fee to challenge accusations. Twenty pounds may sound like a small sum, but it could deter those living on low-incomes from challenging unfair allegations.”

On the flip-side, Geoff Taylor, CEO of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), stated:

“It’s time to get down to business and start implementing the law to educate consumers about illegal downloading, so that artists and creators are fairly rewarded for their hard work.”

What do you think of the three strike rule? Should illegal downloaders be allowed to get away with it? Should the film studios and record labels lighten up a bit? Let us know in the comments section below!

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