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Digital Economy Act 2010

Topic 2: Online infringement of copyright

Section 9: Obligations to limit internet access: assessment and preparation

61.New section 124G of the 2003 Act, inserted by section 9, confers a power on the Secretary of State to direct OFCOM to assess whether ISPs should be obliged to take technical measures against certain subscribers, or direct OFCOM to take steps to prepare for technical obligations. In particular, OFCOM may be required to carry out a consultation or assess the likely efficacy of different kinds of technical measure, and to report back to the Secretary of State. Technology used for the purposes of online infringement of copyright is changing fast and it is not possible at the time of enactment to know which technical measures would be effective. OFCOM must publish their reports under this section but may exclude information they consider they could refuse to disclose under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

62.The government’s aim is for the initial obligations in new sections 124A and 124B to significantly reduce online infringement of copyright. However, in case the initial obligations prove not as effective as expected, new section 124H gives the Secretary of State the power to introduce further obligations, should that prove appropriate.

63.If technical obligations are imposed, OFCOM is required to set out supporting provision in a technical obligations code under section 124I (which is inserted by section 11).

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