“The implementation of the Digital Economy Act (DEA) 2010
is not expected before 2015, a lengthy delay. The September 2013 report of the House of Commons Culture Media and Sport Committee
fervently advocates quick implementation, despite evidence of controversy. This policy brief contributes to debate about the DEA’s measures for copyright enforcement by examining evidence on the way a changing digital culture is affecting the creative industries and on the potential impact of the DEA’s copyright enforcement measures.The DEA introduced a graduated response to online copyright infringement, i.e. Internet ServiceProviders send warning notices to individuals who are suspected of infringing and passannonymous lists of suspected infringers to the rights holders. The rights holders can go tocourt to request the identities of infringers in order to take action against citizens. If this approach is ineffective in suppressing online infringement, technical measures could be usedsuch as limiting internet access. We published a policy brief on Creative Destruction and Copyright Protection: Regulatory Responses to File-Sharing
– in 2011 that examined online copyright infringement, practices of file sharing and its consequences for the music industry. Our key observations were:
1. Data provided by the music industry were misleading; contrary to what lobbying organisations were claiming, the music industry was doing reasonably well.
2. Declining sales of recorded music (mainly CDs) could also be explained by factors such as a squeeze on household expenditure on leisure goods and changing patterns of music consumption.
3. Declining sales of recorded music were offset by increasing revenue from live performances and growing digital revenues, including streaming services.
4. Intervention to enforce copyright infringement legislation on individual file sharers risks stifling innovation and criminalises a thriving online participatory culture. This policy brief provides additional evidence that counters claims that the creative industriesare suffering overall revenue decline. We show that new business models are enabling theindustry to gain advantage by building on a digital culture based on sharing and co-creating. Wefind that the experience of France and countries that have started to implement graduated response measures targeting citizens is mixed. We conclude the DEA should not be implemented and that the measures should be reconsidered based on an independent assessment of the social, cultural, and political impact of punitive measures against citizens, and the risk that incentives for innovation and growth will be weakened.”