Legislation against Internet filesharing in UK
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The UK Government intends to introduce legislation that will force ISPs to
disconnect theirs customers that illegally download music or films.
Andy Burnham, the culture secretary, told the Financial Times “the
government has no burning desire to legislate”, but he announced a change of
tone from the Government. A document called “Creative Britain: New Talents
for the New Economy” commits the government to a consultation on anti-piracy
legislation this Spring. The legislation could be implemented by April 2009.
The draft consultation which suggests that ISPs would be required to take
action against illegal filesharers is aimed at dealing with the estimated 6
million UK Internet users that illegally download files every year.
The paper apparently suggests a “three-strikes” regime. “Users suspected of
wrongly downloading films or music will receive a warning e-mail for the
first offence, a suspension for the second infringement and the termination
of their Internet contract if caught a third time, under the most likely
option to emerge from discussions about the new law.” It also proposes the
prosecution of the companies that will not observe this procedure. The
information was however denied by Mr. Burnham.
The Internet Service Provider’s Association (ISPA) believes that it
would be difficult to create the appropriate legislation and stated ISPs
were already considering self-regulation. Some of the UK’s biggest Internet
Providers, such as BT, Virgin and Tiscali have had discussions with the
entertainment industry on the introduction of a voluntary scheme for illegal
downloading activities, but no agreement has been reached yet.
EDRI-member Open Rights Group points out that the proposals are
disproportionate and meant to fail as unrealistic. Filesharers will simply
find methods to cover their identities using encryption and software will be
created to help non-technical users to do the same thing. Besides, the
measures will not help artists and will upset instead their fans.
The new proposed legislation could also raise problems in terms of the
European laws on online privacy. ISPA believes data protection laws would
prevent providers from checking on the content of information sent over
their networks. “ISPs are no more able to inspect and filter every single
packet passing across their network than the Post Office is able to open
every envelope,” said the association.
Government to ban illegal filesharers from the internet? (12.02.2008)
Illegal downloaders ‘face UK ban’ (12.02.2008)
ISPs could face piracy sanctions (22.02.2008)
DCMS – Unlocking Talent (22.02.2008)