The cost of policing internet users
The Digital Economy Act 2010 (previously blogged about here) requires ISPs both to notify (via a Copyright Infringement Report) users that they have been suspected of copyright infringement and to keep a database of anonymised information relating to the number of times a particular user has been issued with a CIR.
On 11 October the Department of Business Innovation and Skills published a draft Online Infringement of Copyright (Initial Obligations) (Sharing of Costs) Order which seems likely to come into effect in 2011. The Order addresses the vexed issue of who is expected to pay for the ISPs’ policing of internet users (see Section 124M of the DEA, inserted into the Communications Act 2003). The draft Order confirms that 75% of the costs are to be borne by copyright owners and 25% of the costs remain with ISPs.
Given that ISPs may pass these costs on to internet users, it will mean that users will be paying in part for their own surveillance. The question remains: should ISPs be policing the internet on behalf of copyright owners at all?