Department for Culture Media and Sport
We are working on the Government’s policy for addressing online infringement of copyright. We work closely with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), which is the Government body with the overall lead responsibility for Intellectual Property (IP) issues in the United Kingdom. The IPO is an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The Government and Ofcom are together setting up the Digital Economy Act’s mass notification system, which aims to address through education online copyright infringement resulting from unlawful peer-to-peer file sharing. Under the system, letters will be sent to broadband account holders whose internet connections are identified as being used to unlawfully share films, music and other copyright material. The letters will explain what copyright is, where to find legitimate sources of copyright material, and give advice on protecting internet connections from unauthorised users.
Implementation of the mass notification system has been delayed by BT and TalkTalk’s Judicial Review of the Digital Economy Act and their subsequent appeal, which concluded in March 2012. The Government and Ofcom took significant steps towards implementation of the mass notification system on 26 June 2012:
The Government intends to lay the Initial Obligations Code in Parliament in early 2013. Once the Code comes into force shortly after, Ofcom will work with participating copyright owners and internet service providers to put all the necessary elements in place to send the first notification letters using the mass notification system in 2014.
The Government is working with industry partners to develop options for addressing online copyright infringement as part of the Communications Review.
Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey hosts regular roundtable meetings with industry to develop policy proposals.
In May 2011 Professor Ian Hargreaves published his independent Review of Intellectual Property and Growth. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is leading the Government’s implementation of Professor Hargreaves’ recommendations. Professor Hargreaves’ review, the Government’s response, progress updates and related publications are available on the IPO’s website.