The government is to drop web site blocking plans from the controversial Digital Economy Act (DEA) having deemed the system unworkable based on information from Ofcom.
The communications watchdog said in its Site Blocking report that several methods could be used to block sites, such as IP address blocking, deep packet inspection and URL blocking, but that none is suitable for the requirements of sections 17 and 18 of the DEA.
"We do not believe it is possible to deliver a framework under the DEA which meets the requirements of copyright owners for a timely implementation of blocks and a flexible approach from service providers to tackling circumvention," Ofcom said.
However, the High Court last week ordered BT to block access to the Newzbin web site under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act, which looks likely to be used for future blocking proposals instead of the DEA.
The government also confirmed that, based on information from Ofcom, it will introduce a £20 fee for anyone appealing against an accusation of illegal file sharing, which will be refundable if the appeal is successful.
Peter Bradwell, a campaigner at the Open Rights Group, criticised this development, claiming that it ignores the wider issue that the copyright legislation in the DEA needs to be redrawn.
"Charging people £20 to appeal against copyright warnings is unfair. The evidence against alleged infringers is likely to be unreliable," he said.
"The government should follow the Intellectual Property Office's new intellectual property crime strategy, and rebuild its copyright enforcement policy from scratch, driven by evidence and a proper public consultation."
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