Digital Economy Act update, draft SI

James Firth james2 at
Thu Jan 20 16:11:50 GMT 2011

For anyone on this list following the progress of the Digital Economy Act,

I got a tip that Ofcom has released a draft of the Statutory Instrument for
the Initial Obligations Code as required by the enabling primary legislation
passed last year.

When I downloaded it (from Europa EU - MS Word doc caution - draft not yet
available on parliament or

... It was clear this was only half - or less than half of the required
legislation for the Initial Obligations Code.  It only covers distribution
of costs between ISPs and rights holders.  (A whopping 75% to rights
holders, 25% to ISPs).

On one hand one could assume work on the code has been delayed following the
Judicial Review pencilled in for March 22nd.  But what if the JR failed?
Then by my reckoning Ofcom is well behind the timescales to produce the code
outlined in S6 of the Digital Economy Act.

I'm hearing on the grapevine that the Culture Secretary is keen to get the
full obligations code out soon, which makes sense, given I know constituents
of Jeremy Hunt who were told point blank that Mr Hunt supported the moves to
stamp out online piracy.

So why split the code and push this SI out now, as the JR approaches?

Monica Horten at IPTegrity has blogged this could be due to cost saving, as
it gives the government a mandate to include costs ALREADY incurred by Ofcom
in the overheads of running the graduated response scheme:

I'm not convinced by this explanation, as a graduated response scheme can't
be operated until the full Initial Obligations Code is passed by both houses
- unless I'm missing something.  So why publish the cost split legislation
ahead of the full code?

Really I wondered if anyone else on the list was following this car crash
and had any thoughts?

James Firth

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