Government Turns Up Heat On ISP’s and Online Piracy

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In the latest step to curb music piracy in the UK, the government is considering plans to cut internet access to users who continually download copyrighted music and films illegally.

A Green Paper, part of a draft consultation due for release next week, has suggested that should the plans go ahead, internet service providers would be required to take action against customers who accessed pirated material.

Within the proposed plans it has been suggested that users who regularly break copyright laws will face a ‘three strike’ policy, which after prior warning would result in the termination of their broadband contract with the internet service provider.

Having previously been explored on The Shelf, music piracy has been of growing concern for music and film companies that claim illegal downloads cost them millions of pounds in lost revenues. In previous attempts to combat the problem file sharing legislation was proposed back in October 07 to up the pressure on internet service providers. This it seem is a step to clamp down on the individual users infringing on copyright laws too.

It has been suggested that with such legislation, internet service providers that did not enforce the proposed rules would face prosecution, and customer details made available to courts to ensure civil proceedings could take place.

It seems that this draft, although targeting end users who illegally download, does add further pressure on ISP to come to an agreement with the entertainment industry on ways to control illegal file sharing.

Although talks are ongoing so far they have failed to secure any commitments on the policing illegal activity. With a voluntary scheme only in its early stages it seems the government is growing impatient and is once again willing to increase the pressure on both parties with the threat of legislation.

It seems though for now a voluntary policy scheme is the preferred option for both parties at the table, and whether any legislation proposals make it further than draft stages will no doubt depend on whether there are any developments here in the near future.


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