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Making the online world a place of legitimate activity for UK businesses and consumers

Making it easier for consumers to recognise and avoid copyright-infringing websites by:

  • Reviewing notice and takedown procedures to improve and streamline the process and consider the scope for introducing a Code of Practice for intermediaries.
  • Examining the scope for introducing a system of notice and trackdown to enable rights holders to take action directly against the identified infringer.
  • Pushing within Europe for clarification of the current EU rules around platform liability and improving the current system to allow rights holders to more effectively protect and legitimately exploit their copyright.
  • Developing understanding of the challenges posed by set-top boxes and IPTV (Internet Protocol Television), and work with partners to tackle this emerging and fast growing method of infringement.

The availability of legal sources of content is important in changing consumer behaviour because, after price, the availability is often cited as a reason for consuming infringing content. In recent years there has been significant growth in the development and rollout of comprehensive legal services, including those offered by Deezer, Netflix, and Spotify. In the UK consumers have access to all major legal services. For example, the Pro-Music data which is compiled by IFPI shows there are 53 legal online music services available in the UK. Alongside this, will be conducted a work with search engines and social media platforms to actively reduce the availability of illegal content by undertaking a review of the effectiveness of the current notice and takedown procedures. It will be also considered the options to increase the scope for rights holders to challenge infringers through a system of notice and trackdown. This review will also consider whether Codes of Practice should be introduced.

Supporting legitimate websites by:

  • Encouraging international partners to carry out domain and hosting enforcement action where UK interests are affected, and reciprocating where other countries’ interests are affected (this will include exploring with European colleagues the options for mutual recognition of the evidence required for injunctions and court orders in various member states).
  • Championing financial investigations in IP cases and encouraging enforcement agencies to use the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) to ensure criminals do no benefit financially from their activities.
  • Ensuring that effective sanctions are available through the courts and that criminal sanctions for online copyright infringement are as effective as those for physical goods.

Advertising plays a prominent role in supporting illegal sites. A work will be organised with industry and law enforcement partners to reduce the risk of advertising supply chains being broken. The creation of the Infringing Website List (IWL), an online portal containing an up-to-date list of copyright infringing sites, identified and evidenced by the creative industries and verified by the City of London Police, is having a significant impact. Since the PIPCU launched the IWL in 2013, there has been a 73% decrease in advertising from the UK’s top ad spending companies on IWL copyright infringing websites. The work with brand advertisers, advertising intermediaries and law enforcement partners will be continued to highlight the value of the IWL and groups such as the Digital Trading Standards group (DTSG) will be supported in promoting their UK good practice principles.

Building on the ‘follow the money approach’ to make it more difficult for illegal websites to obtain funding, it will be sought commitments from payment service providers to make it easier to remove services when they are notified by law enforcement.