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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

UK File-Sharers Will Receive Warning Letters in 2013

A few days ago, Ofcom, an independent regulator and competition authority for the communications industries of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, made an announcement, saying that starting with summer 2013 online file-sharers alleged of unauthorized file-sharing of copyrighted content will start receiving notification letters.

This step will become the first one in the so-called “graduated response” system introduced by the 2010 adopted UK Digital Economy Act (better known as DEA). With the first step being sending out the warning letters, notifying about registering of illegal file-sharing, the third one would mean for the repeat violators suspension of their broadband connection.

The government outfit Ofcom is responsible for establishing an “obligations code” that would accompany the new anti-piracy system. As it is spelled out in the document, the warning letters will notify Internet subscribers that their broadband connection has been used for some copyright infringing activities. The notifications will also tell the users how they can protect their Internet connection if they believe that someone else has hijacked their Wi-Fi and has been using it to infringe copyright by sharing files.

The country’s Digital Economy Act would also force Internet service providers to track internet users alleged of unauthorized file-sharing and prove they are able to match their personal information to the IP address that had been used in the infringing activity on the Internet. Still, it is not clear how effective would this system prove and how Ofcom is going to address infringement committed though VPNs, proxies and other services allowing to circumvent the legislation.

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