Consumers wanting to challenge accusations of file-sharing and copyright infringement will have to pay £20 upfront to appeal, under legislation designed to support the Digital Economy Act (DEA).
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) confirmed the cost on the same day that Ofcom unveiled its draft proposals under which internet service providers (ISPs) must tackle file-sharing on their networks.
Under that process, internet service providers will be required to write to customers identified as using their internet connection to unlawfully share films, music and other copyright material.
Copyright holders will be able to seek court orders to identify customers that have received three letters within a 12-month period and could bring legal action against them.
“We must ensure our creative industries can protect their investment,” said Ed Vaizey, creative industries minister. “They have the right to charge people to access their content if they wish, whether in the physical world or on the internet.”
Under the proposals, customers that receive written warnings will have to pay £20 to launch an appeal, although the fee will be refunded to those whose appeal is upheld.
That process has been derided by internet campaigners the Open Rights Group.
Executive director Jim Killock said Ofcom had failed to establish how illegal downloaders would be identified and had introduced proposals which could see many innocent people wrongly accused.
“The appeals are a joke. The government has decided that 'I didn't do it' is not a defence,” he said. “Some people will almost certainly end up in court having done nothing wrong."
Under Ofcom's proposals, copyright owners will be expected to pay for three-quarters of the costs incurred in the establishment the scheme. Ofcom said it does not envisage that the appeals body will be operational before February 2014.
ISPs including BT and TalkTalk objected strongly to the DEA in its original format, although they lost a High Court case trying to get the legislation struck out.
A BT representative told V3 it would be reviewing Ofcom's proposals and respond further in due course.
TalkTalk again cited its issues with the DEA, calling it "fundamentally flawed" because the legilsation will make account holders responsible for the actions of others using their network.
"We will review the proposed code and assess what approach we need to take to protect the interests of our and other ISPs' customers," it added.
Ofcom's consultation process on its proposals closes on 18 September.
The government has also said it will look to repeal sections of the DEA which would have allowed courts to order that access to some sites be blocked.
Copyright owner groups, such as the BPI have already used other pieces of legislation to force ISPs to block access to sites such as The Pirate Bay.
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