OfCom's new plans for Internet piracy in the UK

OfCom, the UK's independent competition and regulatory authority for the telecommunications industry, has released a new draft of their policies towards Internet piracy. There are many changes in the new draft especially when it comes to dealing with Internet pirates. 

Under the new system, users who break piracy laws will be logged in a central database along with their name and the number of offenses they have committed. This new central database will be accessible by music companies and movie studios so they can decide whether to take legal action against "serial" offenders. However, there is no need to get instantly worried as any offenders will be sent three warning letters before any legal action can be taken against them. 

This plan would initially only affect the seven largest UK ISP's which include:

  • BT
  • Talk Talk
  • Virgin Media
  • Sky
  • Orange
  • O2
  • Post Office

OfCom are hopeful it will extend to all of the UK ISP's in the future as well as mobile providers if needed. 

To cope with the new stricter regulations, OfCom are also planning to implement a much clearer and easier appeals process for users who feel they have been wrongly accused of Internet piracy. However, if users decide to ignore warnings; the draft plan gives the Secretary of State powers to not only slow down users connections but to cut them off entirely (although such a measure would have to be cleared through parliament separately before it is implemented). 

This draft comes as a result of the controversial Digital Economy Act which is due to go into action this year. Ofcom hope that this specific plan will be implemented by early 2011. 

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