HomeInsightsDigital Economy Act 2017 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations made

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The first Commencement Order under the Digital Economy Act 2017 has been made.  It brings various provisions of the 2017 Act into force on 31 July and 31 October 2017, including the provisions set out below.

The Commencement Order brings s 106 on secondary ticketing into force on 31 July 2017, making it a criminal offence to breach limits on internet and other ticket sales.  In short, the legislation makes it an offence to use “bots” to override any limits put on the number of tickets a single purchaser can buy, in order to make a mass purchase to be sold on at exorbitant prices.

The Commencement Order also brings s 34 into force on 31 July, which repeals ss 73 and 73A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, which provides that the copyright in the broadcast of public service broadcaster channels (and the copyright in any work included in the broadcast) is not infringed where the broadcast is retransmitted by cable.

The Commencement Order also ensures that, on 31 October 2017, s 32 of the 2017 Act comes into force, which amends s 107 of the CDPA to raise the maximum custodial penalty for copyright infringement from two to ten years.

Section 93 covering on demand programme services is also in force as of 31 July.  Section 93 inserts a new s 368BC into the Communications Act 2003 Act providing that the Secretary of State may impose requirements on providers of ODPS to ensure that their services are accessible to people with disabilities affecting their sight or hearing or both.  The requirements include subtitling, audio descriptions and sign language.

The Commencement Order also brings s 14 into force on 31 July, which states that providers must not make pornographic material available on the internet to people under the age of 18.

Section 104 of the 2017 Act also comes into force on 31 July 2017, stating that the provider of an internet access service to an end-user may prevent or restrict access on the service to “information, content, applications or services, for child protection or other purposes”, if the action is in accordance with the terms on which the end-user uses the service.

The Commencement Order also brings into force on 31 July the new Electronic Communications Code, set out in Schedule 1 of the 2017 Act, and rules on spectrum management.  To access the Commencement Order, click here.

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