Digital Economy Bill–Act–Farce continues beyond Parliamentary grave #DEAct #DEBill

In a continuation of the farcial speed that the Digital Economy Bill was rushed through into Law I’m told that Ofcom has already conducted two meetings with the 5 largest ISPs to discuss the implementation of the Code of Practice with a third planned for next Wednesday.

I’m also told that Ofcom has also met with 9 Music Industry Rights Holders and 5 from the movie making industry. Perhaps Ofcom could elaborate on this? If this is the case it seems hugely disproportionate in terms of representation. Hugely unfair in fact and feels very familiar with the way the Law was rushed through in the first place.

Despite what seems on the face of it to be a substantial consultation with Rights Holders no attempt appears to have been made to involve any small ISPs, the ISP Association, ISPA, or the London Internet Exchange, LINX. In fact the majority of the organisations that stand to lose out under the Digital Economy Act.

A threshold is likely to be applied in respect of which ISPs must comply with the DEA. This however has not been set yet and without it seems reasonable that all ISPs likely to be affected by it get a chance to participate in the discussion.

Being a reasonable minded person I am able to look at it from Ofcom’s perspective and observe that they have very little time to put together a Code of Practice around a hugely complex and controversial subject.  You might say Ofcom has been stitched up just as the ISPs have been. However in this case it just isn’t good enough. I think everyone concerned here should complain to Ofcom in the morning.

The Ofcom Switchboard number is 0300 123 3000 or 020 7981 3000. Ask for Ed Richards, Chief Executive.

Follow on note – check out these posts from Andrew Cormack, Chief Regulatory Adviser, JANET . He was at one of the meetings.

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  1. CommanderZendo

    WTF? This is unbelievable.

  2. Daze End

    Ofcom pulled the same trick with the Broadband speed Code of Practice – resulting in an initial draft that benefited the large ISPs and their obsession with selling ‘unlimited’ services that weren’t ‘unlimited’ and ‘up to X Mbit/s’ services. It wasn’t until ISPA pushed for involvement that something far more rational and *customer focused* emerged.

    Given two of the five largest ISPs are also media organisations, I wouldn’t expect this limited “interested party” consultation to be best for ISPs at large, and especially not best for customers and the public at large. 🙁

  3. cyberdoyle

    Keep at it Tref, Ofcom is pathetic. One of the quangos heading down a slippery slope. The bonfire is being built.

  4. Andy

    Are lib dems the only party who have said they will scrap the DEB (until the bits people are concerned about are removed)?

  5. Hi there,

    I had a conversation with a guy at Ofcom this morning as was very interested after reading your post. I have put some details of the call up at: http://blog.szlwzl.com/ofcom-and-the-digital-economy-act-deact-debil

    Found your post very interesting

  6. Great post, Trevor. Having trouble getting to Andrew’s blog via the following URL, though:

    http://webmedia.company.ja.net/edlabblogs/regulatory-developments/

    Will ping him in case the problem is at his end.

  7. Trefor Davies tref

    Robin
    seems to work for me at the moment. try clearing your cache.
    Tref

  8. Trefor Davies tref

    Footnote – ISPA is now attending the next meeting which is next Wednesday. We will also be receiving notes from the previous meetings.

  9. digi

    The copyright industries were invited to the “initial” consultation meeting at least two week before Ofcom contacted anybody else about the meeting… that’s why so many non copyright industry stakeholders could not make it.

    The worst thing is that Ofcom wants to use Virgin Media deep packet inspection data (Detica) to measure the level of copyright infringement online.

    Ofcom had and has no intention to engage anybody but the copyright industries. They are engaging, sorry colluding, with the rights holders since about 4 months on the code. See the BPI email that was leaked… http://boingboing.net/2010/03/12/leaked-uk-record-ind.html

    Ofcom got a statutory responsibility towards consumers as per the Communications Act 2003, not copyright industries, but Campbell Cowie, who is leading on the DEAct at Ofcom was until recently was the Time Warner (Europe) Executive Director of Public Policy, does not appear to have read it. Maybe his copyright industry mates can explain the Communications Act 2003 to him really, really slowly, and draw a picture. http://www.ofcom.org.uk/media/news/2008/03/nr_20080320b

    Would be nice if consumers would give him a call and explain to him that he is now working for a regulator, not for his copyright industry mates.

    Seriously, how can Ofcom think that is a good idea to put him in charge of the DEAct!! How can he claim to be impartial! Or acting in the interest of UK consumers….!

    We should demand that he gets pulled off DEAct, and that someone who is truly impartial, with experience as a regulator, is put in charge!

    1. Trefor Davies tref

      Thanks digi – what you say is very concerning

  10. cyberdoyle

    been saying for a long time that there is collusion going on, the old boys network etc. A lot of the digitalbritain report was based on stats from the wrong people. We should be concerned, and many of us are.
    Trouble is nobody is picking up on it, I have sent many links to the newspapers with hints to check CVs but the journos don’t seem interested…
    … and ofcom does sponsor an awful lot of stuff dunnit?
    We had a good digitalbritain forum going where a few of us made a lot of valid points. BIS still has the site, but the domain is owned by guess who? Ofcom.
    The links from the BIS sites are still there to http://www.digitalbritainforum.org.uk but they don’t work any more. They don’t like hearing from consumers. So they killed it. The BIS guys have asked ofcom to put it back online, but they won’t. Speaks volumes methinks. Four legs good, two legs bad.

  11. digi

    Check out the official impact assessment for the DEAct, the baseline figures for the online copyright infringement provisions were supplied by the BPI and the IFPI, plus some law firm that represents the copyright industries – http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/corporate/docs/d/10-810-digital-economy-bill-impact-assessments

    Normally when a bill moves from one house to the other the impact assessment is suppose to be updated as per amendments. But that did not happen, because the Gov insisted on rushing the bill through both houses – if you look at the first impact assessment for the lords, it is identical to the second impact assessment made for the commons. Also, the impact assessment completely ignores libraries and open wifi, even though the Gov acknowledged in the Lords that the provisions would impact on them.

    See bill documents – http://interactive.bis.gov.uk/digitalbritain/digital-economy-bill/related-documents/

    The trouble with that is that MPs had no factual background and the copyright infringement provisions were made law with no evidence base what so ever.

    This means that there are serious unknown consequences. It’s totally olds boys network, nothing else. It is really scary. And what is even more scary is that they think nothing of it, they don’t even hide it, completely out of this world.

  12. digi

    just so nobody thinks I am making this up – here is the Ofcom/Virgin Media/Detica link – http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/19/ofcom_detica/print.html

  13. Some really interesting stuff here. digi, if you were interested in doing a blog for our site on the subject, please get in touch with me on chris.marling -at- broadbandgenie.co.uk

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