The government has proposed a digital rights agency will help encourage compliance with copyright laws and wants creative industries to work together on measures to encourage compliance with the law.


As part of its Digital Britain report, the government has asked industries to come up with a plan for what aims the agency should achieve. It has insisted that the agency must be an industry body and not another regulator and said that its role would be not just one of enforcement, and that it would have to work alongside planned legislation.


The consultation paper said: “We have set out here a model which allows industry to keep control of how this environment is created. This model depends on a strong rights agency that can and does require specific actions of its members.


“We see it working alongside some specific legislative proposals that we believe will make an impact to reduce the incidence of unlawful peer-to-peer file-sharing and, in so doing, start to share responsibility for changing and challenging wide-scale infringement.


“Put at its most ambitious, our vision for a rights agency is to facilitate a major change of approach across the whole value chain as to how content is provided, packaged and sold to consumers.”


Comsec Consulting managing director Stuart Okin, claimed that a code of conduct would be a better solution than the proposed self regulated ‘rights agency'.


Okin said: “The Digital Britain paper recommends a self regulated ‘rights agency' to be set up by interested parties and funded by them, with a view to notifying and educating everyone on the need to protect IP and copyright, and to take concerted action against serious infringers.


“The real challenge is to set up a code of conduct, as the varying industries will all have their own views on what constitutes a breach of code and I suspect there will be a real overlap with the function of Ofcom and FACT, as well as other bodies.


“There is an opportunity for security awareness to be part of the agenda of the rights agency. There is also a need for the code of conduct to lay down the rules of engagement in the analysis and forensics of an investigation by one of their representatives – this will need to clearly balance the security (and chain of evidence) with the privacy of the individual.”