Ofcom acts on Digital Economy Act

Ofcom has published the draft initial obligations code as a result of the guidelines laid out in the controversial Digital Economy Act. As expected, it includes a three strikes rule, which could see persistent file sharers ending up in court over copyright infringements.

However, the code doesn't refer to three strikes leading to your internet connection being cut off as was first set out in the DEA. It states that the names and the occasions of infringements will be logged and that copyright owners, such as music labels and film studios, will be able to request information from the list in order to take legal action against illegal file sharers.

First of though, Ofcom states in the draft that infringers will be sent "easy to understand information on the nature of the allegations made against the subscriber and on what actions a subscriber can take, both to challenge the allegation and to protect their network from being hijacked for the purposes of infringement."

Only ISPs with a user base of 400,000 or more are covered by the code. This would include all the big players though and 96 per cent of all fixed line internet users.

Mobile internet usage will not be covered by the code, however. The code states: "Mobile network operators ("MNOs") assign public IP addresses differently to most fixed ISPs. MNOs typically have limited allocations of IP addresses and use those they have in a more dynamic way, sharing them across subscribers. An IP address identified as related to copyright infringement may be in use by multiple individual subscribers at the time of the alleged infringement."

We're not promoting illegal activity at all but it seems if you want to carry out some dodgy file sharing without the worry of ending up in court, then get yourself a mobile plan with a decent data allowance. Surely, the amount of registered mobile broadband users is set to surge?

The code could come into effect early next year, although there is still a consultation open until 30 July.

You can read the code's executive summary here or download a full PDF version here.