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UK proposes £20 to appeal against copyright shakedowns

Vexatious letters to be seen off with tribute to Government
Wed Aug 03 2011, 09:41

SHAKEDOWN LETTERS from rights holders about copyright infringement sent out as the result of the Digital Economy Act can be appealed against with a payment of £20, according to Government plans.

The decision, which was announced right down at the bottom of the response and acceptance of the Hargreaves Report, was introduced by the UK Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Wilcox, who confirmed that sending letters to account holders was still a good part of DEA enforcement.

So letters will be sent to internet account holders that have been "identified" as being linked to "unlawfully shared material", though perhaps not by ACS:Law.

Wilcox said that the letters were designed to be educational and would point uses towards legitimate content - so we imagine that some music stores will be rubbing their hands with glee, and would suggest that perhaps someone was riding on the back of their internet connection.

Appealing against these letters, or what was suddenly described as "detected instances of unlawful sharing of copyright material," will cost people £20. This sum, we learn, is designed to "deter appeals without deterring genuine appeals", and to protect against the "system being overwhelmed by vexatious appeals from people determined to disrupt the system".

Plans to block web sites have been pushed to the side, for now, possibly because the Act's current proposals are not harsh or strong enough.

"We need a copyright system fit for the digital age. Creating these new exceptions to copyright will enable innovators to develop new products and services. But it is essential that businesses have the right tools to protect their hard-work and investment in the digital age," said Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey.

"The UK's creative industries are a key part of our economy but online copyright infringement poses a real threat to their continued success. Our creative industries must be able to protect their products and the Digital Economy Act will help them do that." µ


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