Government Statement on the Proposed P2P File-Sharing Legislation

by @edent | # # # # | 12 comments | Read ~116 times.

Like many people, I'm upset with the direction the Government has taken with regard to "ilicit P2P file sharing".

They've released a document entitled GOVERNMENT STATEMENT ON THE PROPOSED P2P FILE-SHARING LEGISLATION.  It's only 5 pages long, I really suggest you read it.

Being part of a democracy means you're allowed to talk to the decision makers, so I called the number at the end of the document and had a very interesting call with Adrian Brazier.

These notes are taken off the hoof - I didn't record the call.

I asked a range of questions.

Q1) What are the punishments for copyright holders who make false claims about an Internet user (whether malicious or not

A1) None. Yet.  A good point that they hadn't thought of.

Q2) What standard of proof will a Copyright Holder have to provide an ISP?

A2) This will be worked out by Ofcom.  It will (probably) be of a similar level of proof as required by law. The standard of proof has not yet been published because it is up to Ofcom to formulate.

Q3) I pointed out that if a Copyright Holder had the standard of proof required for court, why wouldn't they just go to court?

A3) Save everyone the cost and trauma.  Going to court is an expensive and protracted business for all involved, if a simple letter will stop someone breaking the law, that's probably better for all involved.

Q4) ISPs are not lawyers and judges - how can they tell if a claim is valid. If the claim is invalid - does their customer have the right to sue them (or the Copyright Holder)?

A4) A good point not yet addressed.  If a user is falsely accused, they should have the power of redress.

I was highly impressed with the thought given to the answers - even if I disagree with their conclusions.  Full credit to Adrian for taking the time to listen to my points.  The above is my interpretation of his answers - any mistakes are mine and mine alone.

Please - if you care about Digital Britain, respond to the consultation. An simple email to or will do, you can telephone them on : 020 7215 1295/4165.  If you're feeling old-skool, write to Communications & Content Industries Unit, BIS, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET.

It only takes a few minutes of your time to ensure that the Government don't make a massive mistake.  If you are going to phone or email - please remain polite.

12 thoughts on “Government Statement on the Proposed P2P File-Sharing Legislation

  1. Denny says:

    Don't email Mike, he's out of office until 2nd September.

    That'll teach me for trying to be different 🙂

    1. Mike Klym says:

      But is now back in the office and happy to take old skool or hi-tech comments. Closing date for the consultation is 29th September...

  2. I just asked the Labour candidate for Walthamstow (Stella Creasy @stellacreasy) on Twitter for her thoughts, noting that this would decide whether she got my vote. Let's see what happens.

    1. Good stuff - vital to get this to candidates. Please note that this legislation is likely to be fast tracked - a reply to the consultation will help get your views across on the off chance that Labour aren't in the majority next time.

      1. Note that asking on her Twitter is important - medium as message 😉 Does she read or just post?

      2. Full points to Stella:

        "@davidgerard am running into meeting but it is me and I do respond! Am with billy Bragg and tom Watson on this-tweet more later?"

  3. Richard says:

    If it helps anyone, I've set up a wiki with ideas for responding to the government consultation - will be updating it for the latest changes to policy. It is at

  4. Alasdair says:

    (un)fortunately given that the way this proposal was formed we are told was with Mandleson having lunch at the rothschilds, i suspect the answers that do not provide a punishment will remain so. I say fortunately because If the law is enacted with such loopholes they would allow an easy way to demonstrate its idiocy by using them to cut of the internet connections of every member of parliament

  5. Neil says:

    There are some other interesting questions as well:

    Who's going to pay for the technology to do this? (A proposed 50:50 split, but, on the implementation side, or just the per-letter costs?)

    It seems rather hung-on on the concept of 'letters' - would some form of electronic communication suffice - what about those Internet connections (for example, PAYT usage), for which no subscriber identifying information is held? Hopefully, this is not a backdoor to mandatory subscriber registration...

    The determination as to who evaluates the proof is still up in the air - ideally, there will be a quasi-judicial body doing this, and handling the appeals... but who's going to have to pay for this?

    Building on the point about the lack of redress for inappropriate claims (c.f. the perjury provisions of the Copyright Act in the US, as introduced by the DMCA, which do not exist under English / European copyright laws), where is the counterbalance to this - the obligation on rightsholders to make their content available in more attractive forms. Copyright should represent the minimum level of incentive required to encourage someone to innovate; do these extra rights, albeit disguised as streamlined enforcement, not need careful consideration in the overall picture of IPR and society?

    Is this aimed at traffic, or at hosting? All the talk has been of traffic, but, the main problem is those who are hosting files for distribution, e.g. via a network using BitTorrent. If hosting is within scope, then, does this mean an end to the need to seek injunctions, have a court review evidence etc. for any claimed IP infringement etc.? If I, as a small-time software developer, have my rights infringed by a third party, who is distributing my software without complying with the terms of the GNU GPL 2.0, my chosen licence, do I get the power of this new body, or is it only for major record labels etc.? Or just for "traffic" infringements?

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