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Software industry set to pick up cost of piracy fight

Simon Quicke

The software industry looks as if it will have to continue carrying the costs of fighting piracy as the government indicates it will b e copyright holders that have to stump up the cash to catch those breaking the law.

The latest twist in the anti-piracy parts of the Digital Economy Act will not come as a surprise to the likes of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and FAST who already have to undertake their own legal activity against those breaking the law.

Under the plans laid out by the government right holders will pay 75% of the costs of chasing net pirates with the ISPs picking up the remaining 25%. Those users caught in any crackdown will also be given the right to appeal without fees against the claims.

The fight against piracy outlined in the Digital Economy Act has caused controversy throughout its development and the latest moves has already been greeted with a thumbs down from ISPs not keen to contribute towards any of the costs.

Minister for Communications, Ed Vaizey, said that it had to protect creative industries which lost out when users shared content without paying for it.

"We expect the measures will benefit our creative economy by some £200m per year and as rights holders are the main beneficiaries of the system, we believe our decision on costs is proportionate to everyone involved."

The other positive that has emerged from the latest changes is the decision to take the cost of appealing away for users.

"We welcome the government's decision to keep the appeal mechanism free for consumers at the point of access, at least until we can see how well the Copyright Infringement Notice process works in practice," said Sebastien Lahtinen, co-founder of thinkbroadband.com.

"We do still have some concerns about the level of technical understanding a consumer may require, to effectively challenge an allegation of copyright infringement, but we hope that the system will be designed to be as accessible as possible," he added.


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