Online traceability: Who did that? – Technical expert report on collecting robust evidence of copyright infringement through peer-to-peer filesharing

Published: 26 July 2012

This report, written by Dr Richard Clayton, outlines how copyright owners can collect robust evidence of copyright infringement through peer-to-peer filesharing. Consumer Focus commissioned this report to assist Ofcom in the implementation of the Digital Economy Act 2010 through a statutory Initial Obligations Code. When it comes to taking action against people accused of infringement, the standards of evidence are critical. The Digital Economy Act 2010 requires that the Initial Obligations Code makes provisions on the ‘means of obtaining evidence’ and the ‘standard of evidence’ for copyright owners who want to lodge ‘copyright infringement reports’ against consumers with their internet service provider (ISP).

The report provides advice on standards and procedures which should be adopted to ensure that copyright owners can reliably identify an internet connection which has been used to infringe copyright through peer-to-peer filesharing. Dr Clayton then describes how ISPs can robustly match internet subscriber details to IP addresses, which are dynamically allocated to domestic internet connections. Under the Digital Economy Act 2010 subscribers, who are the bill payers for an internet connection, can appeal a notification of alleged copyright infringement if they can show that they did not commit the alleged infringement, and took ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent others from infringing. Dr Clayton therefore concludes his expert report on traceability by assessing how subscribers to an internet connection could identify who may have used their connection to infringe copyright.

In order to assist the ongoing technical and legal debate on traceability online, and in particular the detection of online copyright infringement by consumers, we are publishing this report with only slight editorial amendments under an Open Government Licence. The original expert report by Dr Clayton as provided by Consumer Focus to Ofcom and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in April 2012 can be downloaded using the link below.

Online traceability: Who did that? – Original report by Dr Richard Clayton (PDF 172KB)

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R Clayton report.indd