11th December 2012

Are you downloading illegally?

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11th December 2012

Are you downloading illegally?


According to research published by the independent internet regulator, Ofcom, 47{ba3215b0bf35eaeb06be458b3396ffbfc50bb9db10c9ff1594dfc3875e90ea48} of internet users aged 12+ are unsure whether the online content they download, stream or share is legal. The study also found that 16{ba3215b0bf35eaeb06be458b3396ffbfc50bb9db10c9ff1594dfc3875e90ea48} of those surveyed knowingly downloaded or accessed online content illegally between May – July 2012, and 22{ba3215b0bf35eaeb06be458b3396ffbfc50bb9db10c9ff1594dfc3875e90ea48} of those people confirmed that they would be dissuaded from reoffending by a letter threatening internet access suspension from their ISP. The findings are part of a large-scale consumer study into online copyright infringement following the recommendation of the 2011 Hargeaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth that Ofcom should not wait until its formal reporting duties under the Digital Economy Act 2010 begins to start establishing trends on digital behaviours.

The research follows Ofcom’s draft anti-piracy Code, published in June, that would require large internet service providers (ISPs) (currently limited to BT, Everything Everywhere, O2, Sky, TalkTalk Group and Virgin Media which collectively service more than 93{ba3215b0bf35eaeb06be458b3396ffbfc50bb9db10c9ff1594dfc3875e90ea48} of the retail broadband market) to notify customers of reported online copyright infringements. If a customer receives three letters or more within a 12-month period, copyright owners may request anonymous information showing them which infringement reports are linked to that customer’s account before seeking a court order requiring the ISP to reveal the identity of the customer, with a view to taking legal action under the Copyright Designs and Patent Act 1988.

Ofcom hopes that the study will be a useful first step in improving the necessary evidence base for online copyright infringement policy. It remains, however, to be seen how far the measures will go to encourage the use of online content through legal channels and foster investment into the UK’s creative industries.”