UK creative industries want the disconnection of file sharers

By EDRi · May 20, 2009

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Deutsch: [Britische Kreativindustrien fordern die Ausschaltung von Filesharern |]

An alliance of eight UK creative industries and five trade unions want the
government to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to disconnect
persistent alleged illegal file sharers from the Internet and have issued a
set of “urgent recommendations” they want to be included in the government’s
Digital Britain manifesto.

The group considers that more than 50% of the net traffic in the UK is
illegal content, situation which puts jobs in the creative industries at
risk. “The growing threat of illegal P2P (peer to peer) file-sharing
threatens (the creative industries), as films go unmade, DVD sales
deteriorate and jobs are lost in production and distribution of content,”
said John Woodward, head of the UK Film Council.

In 2008, the UK Government urged ISPs to take measures to prevent illegal
downloading but refrained from introducing legislation that would force ISPs
to disconnect file sharers. Some of the UK’s biggest internet providers
accepted a voluntary scheme and sent warning letters to thousands of users
suspected of illegally sharing music.

The Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) considers however that
disconnections could be challenged by users in court and that, for the time
being, the standard of the technology available for monitoring and detecting
illegal sharers was not one to be admissible as evidence in court. In ISPA’s
opinion, the rights holders should rewrite their licensing agreements so as
to take into consideration the “new models of online content distribution”.
ISPA’s secretary general, Nicholas Lansman, said to BBC: “ISPA recognises
that there is a problem with unlawful P2P file sharing, but it is important
to recognise that a major part of the solution lies in licensing reform and
the availability of legal content online.”

Woodward agreed the film industry had to introduce radical new business
models and needed to work more closely with ISPs in this digital era. “There
needs to be a better relationship between content providers, ISPS and
consumers.” In his opinion, ISPs might consider a graduated response system
if they were “incentivised to tackle piracy” by the content providers paying
distribution fees to ISPs.

UK’s Intellectual Property minister David Lammy said earlier this year
that the government would not force ISPs to pursue file sharers. “We can’t
have a system where we’re talking about arresting teenagers in their
bedrooms,” he told The Times newspaper.

Barbara Follett, Minister for the creative industries, also said at a
conference of industry executives in London that the UK government was more
in favour of sending warning letters to offenders threatening with legal
actions rather than taking steps to slow or stop users’ connections. “We
propose a requirement for ISPs to notify their customers that are engaging
in unlawful file-sharing and notify them in such a way that any further
action would have consequences,” she said adding that the Digital Britain
report in June will include details related to the types of legal action to
be taken.

Call to ‘disconnect file-sharers’ (12.05.2009)

UK Govt. to hear calls to disconnect file sharers (12.05.2009)

Net firms reject ‘policing role’ (12.05.2009)

British ISPs warn Internet downloaders on the risk of being prosecuted