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Cablegate: Online Copyright Infringement -- No Deal Yet

VZCZCXRO1977
PP RUEHAG RUEHROV
DE RUEHLO #1814 1901530
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 081530Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9149
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBL/AMCONSUL BELFAST PRIORITY 1083
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 001814

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EEB/TPP/IPE JOELLEN URBAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/08/2018
TAGS: ECON ECPS KIPR UK
SUBJECT: ONLINE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT -- NO DEAL YET
BETWEEN UK ISP'S AND CONTENT PROVIDERS

Classified By: Economic Counselor John McNamara, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d ).

1. (C) SUMMARY: British internet service providers (ISP,s) and copyrighted content providers have not yet reached an agreement on how to handle online copyright infringers. HMG is still threatening to impose legislation by the end of the summer if no deal is reached and will release a consultation paper on possible legislation in July. The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) appears to us to now be taking the lead on this issue from the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO). The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Virgin Media have launched an education campaign to teach consumers about the hazards of illegal file sharing. End summary.

2. (C) The Motion Picture Association (MPA), BPI, and other content providers are concentrating on reaching individual agreements among themselves and ISP,s rather than trying to create a universal agreement between all content providers and ISP,s, according Lisa Vango, Senior Policy Advisor at UK IPO. She told EconOff an attempt to reach consensus among all the concerned parties was proving fruitless and was resulting in &lowest common denominator8 compromises. Instead, content providers are focusing on bilateral agreements like the one reached between BPI and Virgin Media. (See para 6.)

3. (C) UK IPO and BERR will release a consultation paper by the end of July on their proposal for preventing online copyright infringement. Any legislation will be an &light-touch, bare-bones co-regulatory approach8 meant to oversee agreements between private sector companies as opposed to stricter legislation as seen in France. Vango said concerns raised by consumer rights advocate groups make unlikely any legislation strictly recommending disconnection for repeat offenders.

4. (C) Any proposed legislation will have three key elements: a. Content providers must provide legal alternatives to file-sharing and downloading; b. Content providers and ISP,s must provide education to consumers on the hazards of illegal file-sharing; and c. ISP,s will be required to notify copyright infringers that their actions are wrong. UKIPO is partially basing their policy of notification on U.S. research showing that 70 percent of consumers stop their illegal file-sharing and downloading once notified. Vango says they are still wrestling with the question of how to deal with the remaining 30 percent.

5. (C) It appears to us that Baroness Shriti Vadera, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business and Competitiveness at BERR seems to have taken up the mantle of pressing content providers and ISP,s to reach an agreement during the transition from former UK Minister of Intellectual Property, Lord Triesman, to the new Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Intellectual Property and Quality, Baroness Morgan of Drefelin. Lord Triesman first set the deadline of fall 2008 for content providers and ISP,s to come to a voluntary agreement on online copyright infringement. Recently, Baroness Vadera has been the one making public statements spurring on the interested parties to reach a compromise.

6. (C) Virgin Media and BPI reached an agreement in June 2008 on illegal file-sharing that includes measures for notifying customers. Virgin Media is a large conglomerate that operates an ISP in the UK as well as creating original music, TV, and other content for its entertainment businesses. BPI will notify Virgin of copyright infringement by Virgin consumers and Virgin will send them &informative letters8 to educate them about their misdeeds. It is interesting to note that the first such agreement has been made with Virgin, perhaps the only ISP that also creates copyrighted content. More information on the agreement is available at www.bpi.co.uk. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX
LeBaron

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