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UKIPO reviews portability for Subscription

Written by Mark Reed on 29 January 2018

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The enforcement of portability regulations is due to come in to force on 1st April this year and the UKIPO is looking for views on this enforcement. The idea of this application is to make online content services such as Sky Now, Netflix and Amazon Prime to be easier for subscribers. Ostensibly, this is primarily aimed at subscribers that are using these services in other member states.

The UKIPO has said that they wish to “makes sure the regulation is enforceable under UK Law and are calling on stakeholders and businesses to make their views known by the end of January”. The sort of opinions they are after are enforcement on ‘which bodies are best suitable and whether certain duties should be enforceable between private parties. Also, other means of enforcing these regulations are potentially allowing parties to enforce regulation breaches through private civil litigation.

An example is If one of the above providers purposely reduces quality of their service, or even fails to provide portable content on a paid service. This would ensue a private action open to remedies rather than it being for the public interest. One of the issues at the moment is that if a member state does not verify a subscriber, a rights holder cannot claim infringement against someone like Netflix, but these new regulations will allow this if effective verification was not carried out. There will not be any introduction of criminal sanctions though, and the UKIPO “believes that now, and going forward, civil sanctions are the most appropriate mechanism for enforcement”. However, they have wondered whether it has “identified the most appropriate means of legal enforcement” and if it has “identified the most appropriate enforcement bodies for the Portability Regulation”?

If this regulation is passed then a review will take place every five years due the potential issues that develop over time, and the ongoing technological advancements.

It will be interesting to monitor how the regulations develop and whether the UK will maintain this after Brexit



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