British internet users could be banned over illegal downloads

People who illegally download films and music will be cut off from the internet under new legislative proposals to be unveiled next week.Internet service providers (ISPs) will be legally required to take action against users who access pirated material, The Times has learnt.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.Broadband companies who fail to enforce the “three-strikes” regime would be prosecuted and suspected customers’ details could be made available to the courts. The Government has yet to decide if information on offenders should be shared between ISPs. sound of (free) music
To blame all the woes of the music industry on illegal downloads is poppycock. It’s time for some new thinkingPeople who illegally download films and music are apparently to be cut off from access to the internet under the terms of a green paper to be published next week. Well that’s a change of heart for Britain’s music industry. At first they started suing customers who indulged in excessive downloads. Now they seem to have persuaded the government make internet service providers (ISPs) – who are merely the conduit for all this traffic – into police who monitor offenders on a “three strikes and out” basis. According to the story in the Times, a warning email would be sent for the first offence, followed by suspension from the service and finally termination of the internet contract. What an interesting idea. Maybe the government should have thought of that during the Great Train Robbery and made British Rail responsible. After all it happened on their tracks.I have nothing against clamping down on illegal downloads, especially if ISPs can agree to do it on a voluntary basis. But this is less out of sympathy for the music industry than because mass downloading uses up valuable bandwidth that could be used for lots of other things. There will of course always be, as there always have been, lots of illegal downloads and copying in the recording industry. It comes with the territory. And, yes, it is worse now because of the ease with which file sharing can happen. But to blame all the woes of the industry on this is poppycock. the pirates
The government has taken the first steps toward enforcing a ban on illegal internet downloads – with the prospect of cutting broadband services for persistent offenders. Owen Gibson asks whether such a move is practically enforcableThe muffled sound you can hear is that of beleagured record company executives, and their counterparts in film and television boardrooms, cheering this morning’s headlines about leaked government plans to take a hardline on illegal downloads. They would be wise, however, to leave the cork in the champagne bottle for now.An industry that has at every turn bungled and botched its attempts to stem the flood of illegal downloads unleashed since the rise to prominence of Napster at the turn of the century believes it may finally have found a solution.

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