The government will not exempt universities, hotels, libraries and small businesses providing open Wi-Fi services from its Digital Economy Bill copyright crackdown, according to official advice released earlier this month.This would leave many organisations open to the same penalties for copyright infringement as individual subscribers, potentially including disconnection from the internet, leading legal experts to say it will become impossible for businesses and the like to offer Wi-Fi access.
Whilst opponents liken this to penalising Ford if the bank robbers make their getaway in a Mondeo – the bill was rushed through Parliament before its dissolution prior to the Election campaign starting on 12th April.
Together with European Directive 2006/24 (regarding the retention of telephony & internet data), hoteliers will not only have to log all calls and internet traffic but also police the destination of said traffic.
However, these plans could take up to two years to be implemented. Firstly, the elecommunication regulator, Ofcom will draw up an industry code for consumers, internet service providers and copyright holders on how to handle illegal file-sharing.
It is expected that this code will take up to a year to be drawn up. Once it has, then anyone suspected of internet piracy will receive a notification asking them to stop.
The Government is then expected to review the market and implementation of the code. From there a decision will be made on how to enforce it.
SBL will keep you updated with developments as they occur and try to interpret them as to their impact on the hospitality industry.