The most contentious element of the Digital Economy Act has at last been outlined by Ofcom.
The “three strikes” policy is designed to afford content holders with a means to disconnect pirates from the internet.
These companies will be allowed to send infringement reports to ISPs who will then in turn send warning letters to the customers in question. These letters will also contain advice about wireless network security, as well as the URLs of websites where content can be obtained legally.
Any web users who receive three or more letters within a single 12-month period will then be placed on something called the Copyright Infringement List.
Content holders will be free to use this data to see which IP addresses have been reported the prerequisite number of times. They will then have the power to demand a user’s personal details from their ISP and, once these are obtained, are free to begin legal action.
Content holders will also be liable for the majority of the costs associated with these actions and will receive discounts when submitting user reports in bulk.
ISPs will be liable for 25 per cent of their base costs for participation.
The accused are free to appeal against any action, although such a move will cost £20 – this will be refunded if they are cleared. An independent appeals body will handle this process.
A month-long consultation period on the proposals has already begun which in turn will be subject to a European Commission Review. The final details will be presented to Parliament next year with a view to full implementation in 2014.