Digital Economy Act

OK, now it is law... I have made some comments.

First draft http://aaisp.net.uk/dea.html


  1. There is a flaw which possibly negates the entire bill. The definition of a internet access service is made up of 3 criteria:

    - Is a subscriber;
    - consists entirely or mainly of the provision of access to the internet; and
    - includes the allocation of an IP address or IP addresses to the subscriber to enable that access;

    An ALLOCATION is the IP addresses given to an ISP (in RIPE's terms, a LIR). That ISP that gives ASSIGNMENTS to it's customers. I've been told off by RIPE for using the wrong term.

    Thus only 2 of the 3 criteria for the definition of "internet access service" can be met. The only people this bill might still affect are those that have their own ALLOCATION directly from RIPE, but are not providing service to anyone else (and therefore not a "communications provider"), but I'm sure that could be easily argued/circumvented.

    Also, would this not exclude dynamic IP addresses? You are not strictly speaking assigning/allocating an address to them. They are requesting an address, and you are offering one in return. An assigment to me is static and unchanging.

  2. I'm not sure the 'allocation' thing would fly, though it's worth a go. IMO it's unlikely that the courts would invalidate the whole act, just because of a technical mistake.

    I think it might be more use to play with the distinction between a subscriber, and a communications provider. For example, my contract with AAISP is in the name of my limited company. I could pay my company a small fee for my private use of the Internet. Perhaps that would make my company an ISP, and so the proper recipient of notices rather than AAISP.

    If I didn't have a limited company, and I got disconnected, I could start one and move the Internet account into its name.

    Another possibility would be a reciprocal arrangement with the neighbours, where we provide each other with (perhaps very limited) Internet access over WiFi. Presumably that would make us both ISPs.

    On a slightly different matter: I wonder how the music industry will deal with an ISP that puts its subscribers in the RIPE database. It's very likely they will get confused and try to send the notice to the end user anyway.

  3. Indeed, we do put people in RIPE, and they do get notices directly. Of course they can then argue that as they are not service providers they can ignore the notice!

  4. An end user is hardly going to cut themselves off from the internet :p

    'The subscriber is currently my fridge, which says it is very sorry and won't do it again'.

  5. So if i "Subscribe" to VM's 50mbit service, But then my home "Nat is evil" router starts allocation addresses to people.. Does that make me a communications provider?


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