Digital Economy Bill & Illegal File Sharing

The Government’s proposals regarding illegal filesharers, who internetrepeatedly pirate material from artists such as Lady Gaga, have been confirmed in the Digital Economy Bill – published today.
The bill, which aims to realise most of the commitments set out in the Digital Britain White Paper published in June, has laid out its plans to curb online piracy.

The first step towards reducing online piracy by 70 per cent will be ensuring Internet Service Providers (ISPs), such as Sky or Virgin, send out warning letters to those caught file-sharing on their networks. The rights holder, who has had material pirated, such as a music label like Universal Music, will pay a fixed fee, set by media regulator Ofcom, to cover the ISP’s costs of sending the letter. Stephen Timms, Minister for Digital Britain expressed his confidence that this method would be successful in ending the majority of the problem. However, if Ofcom discovers that at least 70 per cent of illegal filesharing has not stopped, Lord Mandelson, the Secretary of State, has the power to apply to Parliament for secondary legislation to force the ISPs to impose technical measures such as the suspension of internet connections. Mr Timms said that Ofcom would be measuring the level of illegal downloading across the UK from “today onwards” but could not give a date by which the government would expect to have achieved a 70 per cent reduction in online piracy.

Mr Timms stressed that such technical measures were “very much the last resort”. “We hope to encourage rights holders and ISPs to work together to find new business models, ” he added, referring to examples such as Sky – which has already launched its own subscription music service called Sky Songs.

Other technical measures include: bandwidth capping and imposing a daily download limit. He also gave his assurance that there would be no criminal penalties imposed by the Government against illegal downloaders. However,  rights holders can press charges. The music industry, which has lobbied the Government hard to tackle illegal downloading, has welcomed the bill. Geoff Taylor, the chief executive of the British Phonographic Industry, said:

“The introduction of the Digital Economy Bill is an important milestone towards a sustainable future for British music in the digital age. While the focus has been on measures to tackle illegal P2P, it is significant that the Government has recognised the need for a mechanism to deal with other forms of illegal downloading.”

Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of UK Music – the commercial music industry body – added:
“Our focus is not to disconnect, but to reconnect. To reaffirm and recognise the value of creative works, both to individuals and to the UK economy. “However, for this market to evolve and flourish there must be breathing space to allow all sides to adapt. Government intervention can provide that impetus. “In this wider context, our industry continues to develop and partner with emerging digital services. ISPs and tech companies must work with us, and it is imperative that we reach out together to genuine fans of music.”

However, the proposed legislation has been met with opposition too. TalkTalk, the second largest internet service provider in the UK(with more than four million customers), has publicly spoken out against the second stage of the plans which could force ISPs to disconnect illegal filesharers – saying it constituted an infringement on people’s human rights. Last month it launched a campaign against the technical measure called Don’t Disconnect Us – which had 1, 819 signatures at the time of publishing and threatened legal action. Fellow ISP BT has also voiced its concerns about the proposed measures – voicing a preference for court fines for repeat offenders. John Petter, Managing Director of BT Consumer explained:

“We believe abuse of copyright is wrong. However, we have real concerns about the government’s plans and the lack of legal protections for accused individuals. We believe that technical measures are not the way forward and that a system of court fines for repeat infringers is preferable. Such an approach would not only protect innocent people, it could also create a fund that could be used to support the UK’s creative industries.”

Andrew Robinson, the leader of the Pirate Party UK – which works to legalise non-commercial internet file-sharing – spoke out against the proposals.
“This is a major attack on free speech and human rights. All the benefits of filesharing have been ignored for the benefit of the record labels. Not only is it free advertising for the artist, but it is good for the cultural wealth of the country. No one is excluded from culture if it’s freely available.”

Separately there was no mention in the bill of the proposal to introduce a 50p levy per month on fixed telephone lines to pay for the national roll out of faster web access. This is because the introduction of a new tax, which Mr Timms pledged his commitment to, needs to be included in the Finance bill, which is due next year, before the general election. He estimated that the tax would generate £1 billion by 2017 which would ensure 90 per cent of the UK had next generation broadband.

First publication Telegraph.co.uk
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/6614505/Digital-Economy-Bill-crackdown-on-illegal-filesharers-confirmed.html

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Alex Bailey, Trichromic LLP'

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"You provided the key essentials (and more) for client satisfaction. I am extremely pleased with the services provided by your company and the legal team provided for me. To also turnaround my situation making it a positive outcome, I could not have chosen a better firm to represent me."

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Margaret Klinska

"One step ahead of the opposition"

"John Spyrou has the ability to pre-empt arguments and see issues before they arise, thereby allowing him to be one step ahead of the opposition"

Christopher Bovey

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"Alana & Pinder Reaux’s level of service has been exceptionally high. Always keen to help out with the work in an efficient manner. Highly recommended."

Trading Point of Financial Instruments UK Ltd

"Can’t wait for another session!"

"John Spyrou kindly offered to provide our publishing firm with an update on libel and defamation law.

The presentation he delivered was both interesting and informative, and he brought real credibility to the subject with his detailed knowledge and examples from real life cases.

Those who attended - a mix of veteran editors and those new to the world of journalism - all said how practical and useful they found the training – and now can’t wait for another session!"

Paul Snell, Redactive Media Group

"I would recomend this service to anyone who has a legal matter"

"I'm so glad I had this advice before my CMD. I was very much prepared and think my company (whom I'm taking to a tribunal) were shocked at my knowledge. I would recommend this service to anyone who has a legal matter."

Jacqueline Stevenson

"I could not have chosen a better firm to represent me."

"You provided the key essentials (and more) for client satisfaction. I am extremely pleased with the services provided by your company and the legal team provided for me. To also turnaround my situation making it a positive outcome, I could not have chosen a better firm to represent me."

Marvyn Smith

"Great Source of Support"

"You have essentially achieved what we had set out to do. Thank you for all of your assistance in this matter. Throughout this ordeal, you have been a great source of support."

Mary Anne Poutanen

"We shall, no doubt, be engaging you again soon"

"The matter was concluded very successfully and I’d like to thank John and Wilson again for their helpful and highly professional work earlier this year."

Alex Bailey

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"Fast and reliable notary service for notarisation/legalisation of College reports for foreign office and embassies."

Student Services Department

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"May I take this opportunity to give you and your firm a big thanks for the services I received through Mr John Spyrou, which is above all our expectations."

Halim Salama

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"Many thanks for your enormous help in settling this unpleasant matter. As a father of 4 young children at a private school in South London I was horrified to learn that another parent (a mother) at the school had made highly-insulting and defamatory comments about me and my children on Facebook, all due to what my 6-year old daughter had said at school to her 9-year old son. Whilst my little daughter should not have called him names, for which she was reprimanded and also she apologised, the mother's "Facebook attack" on me personally and also on my 4 little children was abhorrent and totally out of proportion, and was posted for her 300 "Facebook friends" to see which included a significant number of other parents at the school. Pinder Reaux were able to give me excellent legal advice such that, whilst the matter did not need to go to court, it helped me to a satisfactory outcome which involved a full apology by the other parent on Facebook and also an emailed apology to me copied to numerous parents at the school.

Thanks you once again,"

Rob

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"Dear Alex and Rupinder

I have a sore head today, I was so happy with yesterday’s result, I celebrated with my friends.

Just want to pass on my huge thanks for your total success for my case. You stuck with it, you didn`t trouble me with issues that you didn't need to, you pushed them into the corner I wanted them in and we won! The result was better than I expected, I am ecstatic!

Please pass my thanks and delight on to Richard, who didn`t back down at all.

Top team there!

My very best wishes from a very happy customer!"

Jo

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And as for the team who were handling the case, they answered my concerns with very detailed information and in a way which I was able to easily understand."

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Mark Colbourne

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Barbara Anne

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R.A.S

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Suresh Shan

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It’s handy being able to get advice by phone rather than an appointment face to face. Other solicitors seemed more interested in their fee than my inquiry"

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Nicola Grace

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Martin

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Caroline Bradley

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It is exactly what it says on the tin — honest, direct, straight forward and very strategic. The results they achieved for me were outstanding and I will be eternally grateful to the people who handled my case and in particular to John and Peter."

Cirillo Ragasa

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We have worked with a lot of solicitors and have found this firm completely different in that staff there are always friendly and approachable and that they try to seek solutions where other solicitors may have felt they had reached the end of the road in an investigation.

I would not hesitate to recommend them to any potential clients"

Gina Negus

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I would have no hesitation in recommending this firm and you have my assurance that we will, use your company for future support and advice.

I wish you every success.

Many thanks."

Caroline Theodorou

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That was a refreshing change in any business, especially in these economic times.

To have a lawyer (or any service provider) to be more concerned about helping resolve my issue than his fee, was almost unbelievable.

If you are looking for a knowledgeable, ethical and intelligent lawyer whose focus is you and your situation, that is more concerned with helping than he is getting paid, I can think of no other lawyer I would rather have on my side."

Simon Bradbury

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"Thank you very much for your intervention, sorry I was so anxious. You have really made such a difference to this situation.
Regards,"

Sharon Russell

"I was extremely worried that in a divorce case money would just be swallowed but it was strategically spent as promised in a worthwhile to the point way with no wastage."

"In difficult circumstances and in an unknown territory to me I found all your staff reassuring, highly competent and efficient.
I was extremely worried that in a divorce case money would just be swallowed but it was strategically spent as promised in a worthwhile to the point way with no wastage.

I have achieved exactly the result that I wished for thanks to you all. I personally highly recommend your firm.

It is also worth noting that I was never going to be one of your more lucrative customers but that made absolutely no difference to the service and expertise I received. So thanks."

Debbie Springham

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I felt instant confidence in you, because, unlike my previous lawyer, you took the time to listen to me and then acted to minimise my greatest concerns. Stephen’s spreadsheet was a stroke of genius.
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Thanks again"

Dr Krys Williams

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"I want to thank everyone at the firm that I have engaged with during these past 13 months, for ALL the professional and emotional support and advice given to me throughout.
You have all played such a significant part in keeping me positively focussed that made proceedings much easier to manage and deal with.

Whilst divorce is never easy at the best of times and mine certainly did not fall into that category, so many positives have come out of it including re-discovering myself again but even more importantly I truly feel I have made some great and hopefully long-lasting friendships with yourself which I don’t believe happens that often.

I look forward to nurturing this friendship."

"A massive differentiator."

"I will never underestimate the value of your responsiveness and kind words of support during this time.
I have had stressful jobs but nothing has prepared me for the stress of divorce, nothing.

You have really helped me over the last year, I hope that that part of your service never changes, it is a massive differentiator."

"A very very good start to a very happy year…."

"I have just received a package by courier and just wanted to say thank you very much for the chocolates – a nice surprise and very much appreciated.
I will have to limit to one or two a day as my clothes are already feeling slightly smaller than there were.

My sincere thanks for your patience and support through my divorce which as it turned out to be a very very good start to a very happy year.

Many thanks again – wishing you all the very best. With thanks,"

Tara

"When I felt like I was pulling my hair out, you always made me realise we could sort it out!"

"I really do appreciate everything you did throughout the process with the divorce. Everything I said below is true, you really do make each client feel like they are the only client on your books.
It was a long battle and when I felt like I was pulling my hair out, you always made me realise we could sort it out! You have been professional, helpful and understanding at all times.

Thanks once again and I would definitely use you again in the future for any legal requirements I had.

I will recommend your firm to friends and family in the future as a company who makes each client feel like they are the only client."

Jane Phillips, PA to Tony Wright

"I am very pleased"

"You explained my options to me at what was a very difficult time for me and you put me at great ease.
I am very pleased to thank you and hope that you long continue your good work as solicitors.

Thank you again and best wishes."

Mrs L Williams

"I would recommend your company to all right minded people who are new to divorce and are maybe thus scared or unsure."

"I found the solicitor I spoke to excellent because she listened FIRST!!.
She appeared to have time for me which i was not expecting from a solicitor…. Her advice was great and she did not scare me into any action which invloved giving money to her firm.

She came across as pro marriage with a divorce as a last resort which I believe is the right approach. She was very professional and friendly.

I would recommend your company to all right minded people who are new the divorce and are maybe thus scared or unsure.

Many many thanks"

"It really has been great to deal with Pinder Reaux"

"Thank you Jason and Rupinder so much for your time and knowledge on this case, it really has been great to deal with Pinder Reaux and we would not hesitate to contact you in the future, should we ever require your services again – business or personal."

Sam & Eddie

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"Mr Spyrou and his team have been to me all (and more) you would expect from an ideal solicitor: understanding, professional, supportive and, above all, incredibly efficient.

I really felt in good hands right from the first meeting we had.

Indeed, outstanding service that I would not hesitate to recommend to anybody in the need of winning lawyers on their side.

I will be forever indebted.

Thank you again."

Dr. G. Bozzetti

"It really has been great to deal with Pinder Reaux"

"Thanks to all at Pinder Reaux, in particular John Spyrou, who really explained the issues, and simplified them to show me that there really was a way out. Their clear understanding paved the way for my matter to be satisfied to my satisfaction."

John Swann

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"The Board is grateful to Pinder Reaux for representing us, in an unusual but successful action for Passing Off. It was a long drawn out affair but concluded with judgement in our favour. Throughout we were sustained by the competent advice and energy of our solicitor John Spyrou and we are most grateful to him and the firm."

"John gave us hope during a very stressful time."

"From the moment John picked up our case he gave us hope during a very stressful time. Over a period of three months, John worked with us every step of the way providing reassurance, empathy, drive and energy to our case. John and his team, in particular, Olivia, not only successfully delivered for us but treated us with kindness and became like friends to us. We could not recommend them highly enough. Thank you so much for everything."

Angela Kimberley (Business and Human Resources Specialist)

"Pinder Reaux took away the stress"

"We became involved with Pinder Reaux when we needed help in seeking to exit from our timeshare contract.  We had a large maintenance bill outstanding which we were struggling to pay. 


We were obviously very nervous and apprehensive in our initial dealings with Pinder Reaux but we soon came to realise that we were dealing with a very genuine firm and found the whole team very approachable, especially John Spyrou.


We are happy to say, with the firm’s expertise, we are now out of our timeshare contract, paying a tiny fraction of what we allegedly owed.  It is such a relief for us to be finally free of worry about this and we thank Pinder Reaux for helping us to achieve these aims. "

Mr and Mrs H.