February 01, 2011 | Peter Bradwell

Ofcom to review aspects of Digital Economy Act

The government this morning announced that Ofcom will be reviewing aspects of the Digital Economy Act - specifically, at this stage, the provisions for web blocking. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg made the announcement having seen people call for a review through the coalition's 'Your Freedom' site.

It's good news. The web blocking provisions do need serious attention as they would be a real mistake - extremely expensive and complex to run, and likely to cut off legitimate expression and access to knowledge and culture as much as seriously harmful piracy.

On a broader note, it's encouraging to see the DEA facing yet another review. And it's encouraging that the coalition are taking everybody's real concerns about the Act seriously.

When you add Ofcom's new review the Hargreaves review, the Judicial Review, and the Culture, Media and Sport Committee inquiry, it seems to add up to an opportunity to change course on intellectual property for the better. Meaning an approach that supports innovation, creativity and other basic rights like freedom of expression and privacy.

We'll keep you posted on deadlines and how to get involved in the review. Let us know if you have any thoughts or comments, either below or by email. If you want to read some more about ORG's previous analysis of the web blocking provisions, you can here. There's an excellent explanation of web blocking - by Malcolm Hutty, of LINX - available here.

Comments (3)

  1. visa lawyer:
    Feb 01, 2011 at 03:34 PM

    Such an important aspect of the future of the internet in the UK in the hands of Ofcom... Let's hope Colette Bowe's ability matches her ambition.
    Personally, I think Ofcom has consistently under-delivered across the board, across the decades, but I guess we can hope.

  2. WhichAction:
    Feb 01, 2011 at 03:40 PM

    I'm so pleased Ofcom are looking more closely at the Digital Economy Act. As it stands the DEA puts far too much onus on ISPs to tackle filesharers. It's extremely difficult for them to differentiate illegal filesharers from legitimate net users, which means that many could get cut off - as you say, preventing *legitimate* expression and access to knowledge.

    I work for Which? and we're campaigning for fairer rules on file sharing, and hopefully this review will establish not just better ways of scrutinising the evidence (i.e. is a user actually sharing files illegally or have they been wrongly identified?) but also establishing an independent adjudication system.

    Nikki (@WhichAction)

  3. Tom (iow):
    Feb 01, 2011 at 04:55 PM

    Why won't they learn from the utter catastrophe of DRM?