Government revives downloader cut-off proposal
The IPKat has learned from the BBC that the Department for Business Innovation and Skills is to consult on whether the forthcoming Digital Economy Bill should include a requirement that ISPs cut off persistent downloaders. Although Lord Carter's Digital Britain report recommended that Ofcom should explore the issue thoroughly before such a measure was taken, this would take until 2012. The Government feels that this the threats posed by online infringement could mean that this would be too long to wait. To take account of the change in position, the Digital Britain consulation period has been extended to 29 September.
The IPKat isn't hugely impressed. What's the point of commissioning such a report if you're going to brief against its measured recommendations? And wouldn't it have been more sensible to have put this proposal forward at the beginning of the consulation period, rather than halfway through?
BIS press release here.
Parallel imports lead to UK drug shortages
Also from the BBC, the news that a survey by Chemist and Druggist magazine has revealed that 90% of pharmacies have experienced difficulties in obtaining stocks of branded medicines. Some patients have suffered health problem as a result (either physical problems, or caused by anxiety when the correct drug cannot be obtained). A good deal of the blame has been placed on parallel imports into other countries of medicines intended for the UK market.
The IPKat wonders if this is another effect of the credit crunch, with the weakish pound making the UK a good place to source goods for export. He wonders if a similar phenomenon is apparent is other products. The problem though is a serious one. He has a dim and distant recollection of an ECJ case saying that sales of parallel imported goods could be stopped on competition grounds where parallel trade leads to a shortage on the exporting market, but he never thought that the UK would be affected in this way.