The first commencement instrument under the Digital Economy Act 2017 (the “Act“) has now been published. The Act anticipates staggered commencement dates with many of the provisions being commenced and the detail provided by secondary legislation. The recent Digital Economy Act 2017 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/765) (the “Regulations“) provide separate commencement dates for various provisions under the Act.

The Act received Royal Assent on 27 April 2017 and covers a wide assortment of areas falling under the “digital economy”. In particular it seeks to “modernise the UK for enterprise” – focusing on improving access to digital communication services (including through improved connectivity and infrastructure), supporting new digital industries and enhancing protections for citizens using those services. The provisions under the Act commenced by the Regulations include:

  • from 31 July 2017, certain provisions relating to:
    • regulation of dynamic spectrum access services;
    • online pornography;
    • removing the defence to copyright infringement where a wireless broadcast is retransmitted by cable through repealing sections 73 and 73A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988;
    • a new criminal offence aimed at use of digital software to obtain excessive tickets on the primary ticketing market;
    • the transitional and consequential amendments regarding the new Electronic Communications Code;
    • accessibility for people with disabilities to on-demand programme services; and
    • the Information Commissioner preparing a direct marketing code of practice
  • from 1 October 2017, provisions relating to penalties for online copyright infringement (to equalise with the laws of physical copyright infringement); and
  • from 1 October 2018, provisions relating to duties on mobile providers to enable customers to apply billing limits to their accounts.

The commencement of these provisions marks a significant step in the implementation of the Act and furthers the UK Government’s delivery of its Digital Strategy.

For further detail please access the Digital Economy Act 2017 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2017 here.

To read the firm’s full article on the Digital Economy Act 2017 click here.

To access the Digital Economy Act 2017 click here.