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UK Implements Conditional Access Directive on Time

Regulations implementing Directive 98/84/EC on the legal protection of conditional access services entered into force on 28 May (as required by Article 6 of the Directive). The Regulations (Statutory Instrument 2000 No. 1175) were the subject of a recent consultation and are now available in final form on the HMSO web site at off site link.

A summary of the results of the consultation on the draft Regulations may be viewed and downloaded by clicking here (pdf file 8Kb). Copyright Directorate of the Patent Office is grateful for the comments received and for respondents’ understanding of the unavoidably short deadline for this consultation. The summary of responses is also annexed to the final Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) which may also be viewed and downloaded by clicking here (pdf file 33Kb).

The Directive can be accessed via the web site of the European Community (Official Journal references L320/54, 28.11.98). The purpose of the Directive is to create a uniform legal environment for the protection of conditional access services, that is, services offered to the public where access is subject to payment of subscriptions such as pay-TV and interactive on-line services. The Directive requires Member States to prohibit, and provide suitable sanctions against, the manufacture and commercial dealing in illegal decoders, smart cards, software and the like. Current UK legislation concerning unauthorised decoder piracy is set out in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 as amended by the Broadcasting Acts of 1990 and 1996. This legislation already makes it a criminal offence to make, import, advertise, sell or let for hire a decoder which can access broadcast or cable programme services without payment of a fee, and provides appropriate remedies for service providers. The new Regulations effectively modify and improve the list of infringing activities, and the services to which they relate, and apply the regime to services transmitted from any place within the EU. Full information is set out in the RIA.

Any queries or comments arising from this notice should be sent to:

Teresa Arnesen
Copyright Directorate
The Patent Office
Harmsworth House
13-15 Bouverie Street

Fax: +44 (0)20 7596 6526/6527
Tel: +44 (0)20 7596 6513

Last updated 10 July 2001 top