Digital Economy Bill: Copyright Holders May Have To State Income Lost To Piracy

Copyright holders would have to tell ISPs how much financial damage they suffer from alleged digital copyright infringements, under an amendment proposed to the Digital Economy Bill.

The amendment, proposed by Lord Lucas, says that “copyright infringement reports” – which record labels and movie studios would send to to ISPs, detailing instances of alleged abuse by a customer – must also “set out the value of the infringement on the basis described in the initial obligations”.

That could, for example, force record labels to equate one pirated track with one lost sale – a conclusion that some would dispute.

It’s just one of 74 299 amendments proposed to the bill, which is currently going through House Of Lords committee stage and which is due for a 3pm Wednesday hearing…

— Another key amendment, from Lords Razall and Clement-Jones, would ensure that Lord Mandelson, before using statutory instruments to enable disconnections, “appropriately balances the interest of rights holders and the interests of the public in due process, privacy, freedom of expression and other fundamental human rights guaranteed by inter alia the European Convention of Human Rights and the EC Charter (NSDQ: CHTR) of Rights”.

— Whitty also wants to scrap a clause that “the number and nature of copyright infringement reports relating to the subscriber may be taken into account for the purposes of any technical measures” (ie. bandwidth throttling or disconnections) – that could make “three strikes” unworkable, since ISPs would apparently not be allowed to count from one to three.

— Clement-Jones also wants complaining copyright holders to send along “a sworn statement … that the information collected has been obtained in compliance with all relevant laws, including data protection and privacy laws, and by persons entitled to gather such information”.

— And Lucas also wants to guarantee that warnings sent to people accused include “full details of a subscriber’s right to appeal, and of where information on how to appeal may be found”. Clement-Jones also wants included “advice about how to respond to the notification if the subscriber believes it to be based on an error of fact, wrong in law or unreasonable”.

Other proposed amendments…

— One by Lords Whitty and Lucas, would alter the scope of a copyright infringement to include that which “appears to have taken place through peer-to-peer filesharing networks on a subscriber’s IP address” – sure to rile campaigners who protest that IP numbers do not correspond to identity. But Lords Razzall and Clement-Jones want to stop copyright holders from referring to IP addresses in their reports to ISPs.

— Another would remove a clause allowing action to be taken against even individuals who have allowed their connection to be used by an infringing user.

— There’s a call to make clear that instances of “infringement” are actually “infringement allegations“.

— “Copyright holders seeking to take action against subscribers for online copyright infringement must use the process set out in sections 124A to 124E of the Communications Act 2003 except in cases of actual or likely extreme prejudice.”