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Digital Economy Act 2010

Structure of the Act

5.The Act comprises 48 sections and two Schedules and covers eleven topics.

6.Topic 1 is reporting duties of the Office of Communications (“OFCOM”).

7.Section 1 imposes a new duty on OFCOM to report to the Secretary of State on the UK communications infrastructure every three years, and on internet domain names when asked to do so. Section 2 requires OFCOM to report on media content.

8.Topic 2 is online infringement of copyright. Sections 3 to 16 impose on internet service providers obligations aimed at the reduction of online infringement of copyright. OFCOM is responsible for the specification of the procedural and enforcement aspects of these obligations through the approval or adoption of legally binding codes of practice. Sections 17 and 18 enable regulations to be made about the granting by a court of injunctions requiring service providers to block access to websites that are used, or are likely to be used, to infringe copyright.

9.Topic 3 is powers in relation to internet domain registries. Sections 19 to 21 provide that, where the Secretary of State has serious concerns about the operation of a relevant register of internet domain names, the Secretary of State may take steps, or ask the court to take steps, relating to the management or constitution of the body operating the register.

10.Topic 4 is the Channel Four Television Corporation (“C4C”). Sections 22 and 23 extend C4C’s functions.

11.Topic 5 is independent television services. Sections 24 to 28 update the statutory framework for the Channel 3 and Channel 5 licences and the public teletext service licence to introduce more flexibility. Section 29 removes the requirement for Channel 3 licence holders to produce and broadcast Gaelic language programmes.

12.Topic 6 is independent radio services. Sections 30 to 36 introduce changes to the licensing regime for independent radio services to facilitate the change to digital services.

13.Topic 7 is regulation of television and radio services. Section 37 provides for the Secretary of State to alter the conditions of public service provision that OFCOM must include in television and radio broadcasting licences, with the option to change the conditions back at a later date.

14.Topic 8 is access to electromagnetic spectrum. Sections 38 and 39 enable the reallocation of spectrum currently used by mobile network operators.

15.Topic 9 is video recordings. Sections 40 and 41 and Schedule 1 implement changes to video games classification as recommended in Safer Children in a Digital World: Byron Review(1), extending the range of video games that are subject to requirements to be age-rated and supplied only in accordance with the rating.

16.Topic 10 is copyright and performers’ property rights penalties. Section 42 amends the law on copyright and performers’ property rights by increasing penalties for some forms of copyright infringement and performers’ property rights infringement.

17.Topic 11 is public lending right. Section 43 amends the Public Lending Right Act 1979 and the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to allow inclusion of non-print formats (audio-books and e-books) in the public lending right payment regime.


Published in 2008, available at: [1]

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


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