Ofcom ready for Legal Actions

Telephone regulator Ofcom, which made its rules for the 4G spectrum auction public, is now ready for any legal actions.

The widely discussed 4Gspectrum will be beneficial in terms of better and faster mobile internet service in the UK. The auction itself is expected to raise significant amount of money – over a billion pounds. Some networks, which will take part in the auction have threatened to sue Ofcom, which means that probably not all parties will be satisfied.

Ed Richards, CEO of Ofcom said: “”It’s a racing certainty there will be objections. ”We are fully prepared for litigation and we are fully prepared to defend the decisions we have taken today.”

On Monday, many lawyers of the networks involved in the auction , spent hours over 1,000 pages pages outlining the complicated process by which the auction will be carried out. After this document has been read and understood, although claimed to be “impenetrable”, by analysts, operators and their lawyers spent the next day working on their positions

Bidding for the  4G spectrum is scheduled to start in 2013, after all applications are submitted this year. Ofcom has warned the mobile operators that any legal action taken or anything disrupting the flawless process could cause delay for the roll-out of 4G services, which will hurt the UK, as it will stay behind many other countries.

It also took the opportunity to lament the lack of clout which UK regulators can wield to force changes in the face of objections from large companies.

Ed Richards said that the UK`s system was”too legalistic and too open to gaming”. He thinks that the authorities, involved in this should be able to have the power and the tools to make “timely decisions”, however in his view there is a risk that the UK might be going the wrong direction on this issue.

 “Everything we do now is subject to huge shadow of threat of litigation. [That can mean] multiple courts over multiple years. It’s not just a case of one court and you get an answer. It can be appealed and appealed.”

 Ed Richards

New Ofcom illegal file-sharing law

Ofcom has set out a draft version of the regulations which will govern the legal fight against illegal file-sharing.
Under the new regime illegal downloaders will now be faced with a three strike rule if found guilty of breaching the Digital Economy Act (DEA).

The three strike policy is set to roll out in 2014 and will see ISPs sending letters out to customers who are found guilty of downloading pirated content like music and films. If a customer receives 3 letters in a 12 month period, their information (download history) can be released to the owners of the copyrighted material who will then have the option to pursue legal action over copyright infringement.
However, the copyright owner would first have to secure a court order in order to determine the identity of the file-sharer, as the download history provided would be anonymised.

If customers receive a letter and believe they have been wrongly accused, they must appeal within 20 working days and pay a fee of £20 which will be returned to them if they are vindicated.