I’ve just sent off a Janet response to Ofcom’s consultation on the latest draft Initial Obligations Code under the Digital Economy Act 2010.
On the wording of the Code itself there are just a couple of minor observations. There seems to be a drafting hiccup that means any ISP that becomes Qualifying in the second or subsequent years (but not in the first) won’t get the additional grace period that everyone seems to agree will be needed in order to set up systems to receive and process Copyright Infringement Reports for the first time. And I’ve repeated the observation that merely telling a reporter “I couldn’t identify a subscriber from that information” doesn’t help them to improve reports in future. The UCISA standard response templates include different responses to tell the reporter, for example, that they need to provide more information or fix a bug with their reporting system. To save wasting everyone’s time sending and receiving unusable reports it would be better if recipients that have that sort of information could feed it back rather than waiting for Ofcom’s next annual check of the reporting system.
And on the wider supporting paper I’ve welcomed the explanation of how the Act applies to universities, colleges, schools and other “public intermediaries”. These seem to make clear that, even if Janet were one day to be classed as a Qualifying ISP under the Act, we would be able to treat our customer organisations as either ISPs or Communcations Providers, not as Subscribers, and continue to expect them to receive and deal effectively with reports of copyright infringement under the Janet AUP. Public intermediaries that get connectivity from current Qualifying ISPs may find that those ISPs assume that all their customers are Subscribers, but Ofcom also make clear how to explain to such an ISP that this status isn’t appropriate; ultimately, knowingly mis-classifying a customer may even breach the Act.