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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org 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.