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Copyright legal cost split sparks concerns

Simon Quicke

Fears have been raised by those fighting software piracy that the costs of pursuing legal action will be unfairly distributed.

The government revealed last week that the costs of chasing online pirates sharing applications over peer-to-peer networks will be split 75% to the copyright holder and 25% with ISPs.

The software industry does most of the anit-piracy work on its own anyway but the idea of splitting costs is one that potentially could provoke problems.

"Questions do remain on the detail however, including how the 75% is totted up. We are nervous that costs outside of the copyright owners' control may be unintentionally inflated," said John Lovelock, chief executive of FAST.

"Think about it, what systems will there be and who will pay for these? Will "systems" be necessary? How accessible will such systems be to those who have not paid for their development? Does the cost depend on pre-agreed volumes disclosed by rights holders and are such payments made in advance to ISPs and Ofcom? Should copyright holders commit to cost when there is a Judicial Review on the Act with the decision currently unknown?" he added.

The decision to split the costs was made by the government in official response to copyright infringement.

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