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Office of Public Sector Information

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Digital Economy Act 2010

2010 CHAPTER 24

Contents

Go to Preamble

  1. OFCOM reports

    1. 1. OFCOM reports on infrastructure, internet domain names etc

    2. 2. OFCOM reports on media content

  2. Online infringement of copyright

    1. 3. Obligation to notify subscribers of reported infringements

    2. 4. Obligation to provide infringement lists to copyright owners

    3. 5. Approval of code about the initial obligations

    4. 6. Initial obligations code by OFCOM in the absence of an approved code

    5. 7. Contents of initial obligations code

    6. 8. Progress reports

    7. 9. Obligations to limit internet access: assessment and preparation

    8. 10. Obligations to limit internet access

    9. 11. Code by OFCOM about obligations to limit internet access

    10. 12. Contents of code about obligations to limit internet access

    11. 13. Subscriber appeals

    12. 14. Enforcement of obligations

    13. 15. Sharing of costs

    14. 16. Interpretation and consequential provision

    15. 17. Power to make provision about injunctions preventing access to locations on the internet

    16. 18. Consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny

  3. Powers in relation to internet domain registries

    1. 19. Powers in relation to internet domain registries

    2. 20. Appointment of manager of internet domain registry

    3. 21. Application to court to alter constitution of internet domain registry

  4. Channel Four Television Corporation

    1. 22. Functions of C4C in relation to media content

    2. 23. Monitoring and enforcing C4C’s media content duties

  5. Independent television services

    1. 24. Determination of Channel 3 licence areas

    2. 25. Initial expiry date for Channel 3 and 5 and public teletext licences

    3. 26. Initial expiry date: consequential provision

    4. 27. Report by OFCOM on public teletext service

    5. 28. Power to remove OFCOM’s duty to secure provision of public teletext service

    6. 29. Broadcasting of programmes in Gaelic

  6. Independent radio services

    1. 30. Digital switchover

    2. 31. Renewal of national radio licences

    3. 32. Renewal and variation of local radio licences

    4. 33. Variation of licence period following renewal

    5. 34. Content and character of local sound broadcasting services

    6. 35. Radio multiplex services: frequency and licensed area

    7. 36. Renewal of radio multiplex licences

  7. Regulation of television and radio services

    1. 37. Application of regulatory regimes to broadcasters

  8. Access to electromagnetic spectrum

    1. 38. Payment for licences

    2. 39. Enforcement of licence terms etc

  9. Video recordings

    1. 40. Classification of video games etc

    2. 41. Designated authority for video games etc

  10. Copyright and performers’ property rights: penalties

    1. 42. Increase of penalties relating to infringing articles or illicit recordings

  11. Public lending right

    1. 43. Public lending right

  12. General

    1. 44. Power to make consequential provision etc

    2. 45. Repeals

    3. 46. Extent

    4. 47. Commencement

    5. 48. Short title

    1. Schedule 1

      Classification of video games etc: supplementary provision

    2. Schedule 2

      Repeals

An Act to make provision about the functions of the Office of Communications; to make provision about the online infringement of copyright and about penalties for infringement of copyright and performers’ rights; to make provision about internet domain registries; to make provision about the functions of the Channel Four Television Corporation; to make provision about the regulation of television and radio services; to make provision about the regulation of the use of the electromagnetic spectrum; to amend the Video Recordings Act 1984; to make provision about public lending right in relation to electronic publications; and for connected purposes.

[8th April 2010]

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

OFCOM reports

1 OFCOM reports on infrastructure, internet domain names etc

(1) In Chapter 1 of Part 2 of the Communications Act 2003 (electronic communications networks and services), after section 134 insert—

Reports on infrastructure etc

134A OFCOM reports on infrastructure etc

(1) OFCOM must prepare reports in accordance with subsections (2) and (3) and each report must deal with—

(a) the electronic communications networks matters listed in section 134B(1), and

(b) the electronic communications services matters listed in section 134B(2).

(2) The first report must—

(a) relate to the position on a day specified in the report which falls within the period of 12 months beginning with the day on which this section comes into force, and

(b) be sent to the Secretary of State by OFCOM not more than 2 months after the specified day.

(3) A further report must—

(a) be prepared for each relevant period, and

(b) be sent to the Secretary of State by OFCOM as soon as practicable after the end of the relevant period.

(4) “Relevant period” means—

(a) the period of 3 years beginning with the day specified in the first report, and

(b) each subsequent period of 3 years beginning with the end of the previous period.

(5) Where there is a significant change in connection with a matter listed in section 134B(1) or (2) and OFCOM consider that the change should be brought to the attention of the Secretary of State, OFCOM must—

(a) prepare a report on the change, and

(b) send it to the Secretary of State as soon as practicable.

(6) For the purposes of subsection (5), a change is significant if OFCOM consider that it has, or is likely to have, a significant adverse impact on—

(a) persons carrying on business in the United Kingdom or a part of the United Kingdom, or

(b) the general public in the United Kingdom or a part of the United Kingdom.

(7) OFCOM must publish every report under this section—

(a) as soon as practicable after they send it to the Secretary of State, and

(b) in such manner as they consider appropriate for bringing it to the attention of persons who, in their opinion, are likely to have an interest in it.

(8) OFCOM may exclude information from a report when it is published under subsection (7) if they consider that it is information that they could refuse to disclose in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

134B Networks and services matters

(1) For the purposes of section 134A, the electronic communications networks matters are—

(a) the different types of electronic communications network provided in the United Kingdom (“UK networks”),

(b) the geographic coverage of the different UK networks,

(c) the proportion of the population covered by the different UK networks,

(d) the extent to which UK networks share infrastructure,

(e) the capacity of the different UK networks,

(f) the extent to which the providers of the different UK networks allow other communications providers to use their networks to provide services,

(g) the amount of time for which the different UK networks are and are not available, including the steps that have been or are to be taken to maintain or improve the level of availability,

(h) the preparations made by providers of UK networks for responding to an emergency, including preparations for restoring normal operation of UK networks disrupted by the emergency, and

(i) the standard of the different UK networks in comparison with electronic communications networks provided in a range of other countries, having regard, in particular, to their coverage and capacity.

(2) For the purposes of section 134A, the electronic communications services matters are—

(a) the use of the electromagnetic spectrum for wireless telegraphy in the United Kingdom,

(b) the different types of electronic communications service provided in the United Kingdom (“UK services”),

(c) the geographic coverage of the different UK services,

(d) the proportion of the population covered by the different UK services,

(e) the amount of time for which the different UK services are and are not available, including the steps that have been or are to be taken to maintain or improve the level of availability,

(f) the preparations made by providers of UK services for responding to an emergency, including preparations for restoring normal operation of UK services disrupted by the emergency, and

(g) the standard of the different UK services in comparison with electronic communications services provided in a range of other countries.

(3) The preparations referred to in subsections (1)(h) and (2)(f) include—

(a) the steps taken to assess the risks of different types of emergency occurring,

(b) the steps taken to reduce or remove those risks, and

(c) the testing of proposed responses to different types of emergency.

(4) In a report under section 134A, OFCOM are required to include only information about, and analysis of, such networks, services and providers as they consider appropriate.

(5) In this section “emergency” means an event or situation that seriously disrupts a UK network or UK service.

Reports on internet domain names

134C OFCOM reports on internet domain names

(1) OFCOM must, if requested to do so by the Secretary of State—

(a) prepare a report on matters specified by the Secretary of State relating to internet domain names, and

(b) send the report to the Secretary of State as soon as practicable.

(2) The specified matters may, in particular, include matters relating to—

(a) the allocation and registration of internet domain names, and

(b) the misuse of internet domain names.

(3) OFCOM must publish every report under this section—

(a) as soon as practicable after they send it to the Secretary of State, and

(b) in such manner as they consider appropriate for bringing it to the attention of persons who, in their opinion, are likely to have an interest in it.

(4) OFCOM may exclude information from a report when it is published under subsection (3) if they consider that it is information that they could refuse to disclose in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

(2) In section 135(3) of that Act (information required for purposes of Chapter 1 functions), after paragraph (ib) insert—

(ic) preparing a report under section 134A;

(id) preparing a report under section 134C;.

2 OFCOM reports on media content

After section 264 of the Communications Act 2003 insert—

264A OFCOM reports: wider review and reporting obligations

(1) When carrying out a review under section 264 for a period, OFCOM must also carry out a review of the extent to which material included in media services during that period (taken together over the period as a whole) contributed towards the fulfilment of the public service objectives.

(2) Every report under section 264 must—

(a) include a report on the matters found on the review under this section,

(b) specify, and comment on, whatever changes appear to OFCOM to have occurred, during the period to which the report relates, in the extent to which the public service objectives have been fulfilled,

(c) specify, and comment on, whatever changes appear to OFCOM to have occurred, during that period, in the manner in which those objectives are fulfilled, and

(d) set out OFCOM’s conclusions on the current state of material included in media services.

(3) “The public service objectives” are the objectives set out in paragraphs (b) to (j) of section 264(6) (as modified by subsection (4)).

(4) Paragraphs (b) to (j) of section 264(6) have effect for the purposes of subsection (3) as if—

(a) references to the relevant television services were to media services, and

(b) references to programmes were to material included in such services.

(5) In this section—

  • “material” does not include advertisements;

  • “media services” means any of the following services that are available to members of the public in all or part of the United Kingdom—

    (a)

    television and radio services,

    (b)

    on-demand programme services, and

    (c)

    other services provided by means of the internet where there is a person who exercises editorial control over the material included in the service.

(6) The services that are to be taken for the purposes of this section to be available to members of the public include any service which—

(a) is available for reception by members of the public (within the meaning of section 361); or

(b) is available for use by members of the public (within the meaning of section 368R(4)).

Online infringement of copyright

3 Obligation to notify subscribers of reported infringements

After section 124 of the Communications Act 2003 insert—

Online infringement of copyright: obligations of internet service providers

124A Obligation to notify subscribers of copyright infringement reports

(1) This section applies if it appears to a copyright owner that—

(a) a subscriber to an internet access service has infringed the owner’s copyright by means of the service; or

(b) a subscriber to an internet access service has allowed another person to use the service, and that other person has infringed the owner’s copyright by means of the service.

(2) The owner may make a copyright infringement report to the internet service provider who provided the internet access service if a code in force under section 124C or 124D (an “initial obligations code”) allows the owner to do so.

(3) A “copyright infringement report” is a report that—

(a) states that there appears to have been an infringement of the owner’s copyright;

(b) includes a description of the apparent infringement;

(c) includes evidence of the apparent infringement that shows the subscriber’s IP address and the time at which the evidence was gathered;

(d) is sent to the internet service provider within the period of 1 month beginning with the day on which the evidence was gathered; and

(e) complies with any other requirement of the initial obligations code.

(4) An internet service provider who receives a copyright infringement report must notify the subscriber of the report if the initial obligations code requires the provider to do so.

(5) A notification under subsection (4) must be sent to the subscriber within the period of 1 month beginning with the day on which the provider receives the report.

(6) A notification under subsection (4) must include—

(a) a statement that the notification is sent under this section in response to a copyright infringement report;

(b) the name of the copyright owner who made the report;

(c) a description of the apparent infringement;

(d) evidence of the apparent infringement that shows the subscriber’s IP address and the time at which the evidence was gathered;

(e) information about subscriber appeals and the grounds on which they may be made;

(f) information about copyright and its purpose;

(g) advice, or information enabling the subscriber to obtain advice, about how to obtain lawful access to copyright works;

(h) advice, or information enabling the subscriber to obtain advice, about steps that a subscriber can take to protect an internet access service from unauthorised use; and

(i) anything else that the initial obligations code requires the notification to include.

(7) For the purposes of subsection (6)(h) the internet service provider must take into account the suitability of different protection for subscribers in different circumstances.

(8) The things that may be required under subsection (6)(i), whether in general or in a particular case, include in particular—

(a) a statement that information about the apparent infringement may be kept by the internet service provider;

(b) a statement that the copyright owner may require the provider to disclose which copyright infringement reports made by the owner to the provider relate to the subscriber;

(c) a statement that, following such a disclosure, the copyright owner may apply to a court to learn the subscriber’s identity and may bring proceedings against the subscriber for copyright infringement; and

(d) where the requirement for the provider to send the notification arises partly because of a report that has already been the subject of a notification under subsection (4), a statement that the number of copyright infringement reports relating to the subscriber may be taken into account for the purposes of any technical measures.

(9) In this section “notify”, in relation to a subscriber, means send a notification to the electronic or postal address held by the internet service provider for the subscriber (and sections 394 to 396 do not apply).

4 Obligation to provide infringement lists to copyright owners

After section 124A of the Communications Act 2003 insert—

124B Obligation to provide copyright infringement lists to copyright owners

(1) An internet service provider must provide a copyright owner with a copyright infringement list for a period if—

(a) the owner requests the list for that period; and

(b) an initial obligations code requires the internet service provider to provide it.

(2) A “copyright infringement list” is a list that—

(a) sets out, in relation to each relevant subscriber, which of the copyright infringement reports made by the owner to the provider relate to the subscriber, but

(b) does not enable any subscriber to be identified.

(3) A subscriber is a “relevant subscriber” in relation to a copyright owner and an internet service provider if copyright infringement reports made by the owner to the provider in relation to the subscriber have reached the threshold set in the initial obligations code.

5 Approval of code about the initial obligations

After section 124B of the Communications Act 2003 insert—

124C Approval of code about the initial obligations

(1) The obligations of internet service providers under sections 124A and 124B are the “initial obligations”.

(2) If it appears to OFCOM—

(a) that a code has been made by any person for the purpose of regulating the initial obligations; and

(b) that it would be appropriate for them to approve the code for that purpose,

they may by order approve it, with effect from the date given in the order.

(3) The provision that may be contained in a code and approved under this section includes provision that—

(a) specifies conditions that must be met for rights and obligations under the copyright infringement provisions or the code to apply in a particular case;

(b) requires copyright owners or internet service providers to provide any information or assistance that is reasonably required to determine whether a condition under paragraph (a) is met.