The Net closes in on internet piracy

Seven million people could be criminalised under government plans to crack down on internet piracy, to be included in this autumn’s Queen’s Speech. The illicit downloading of music and films on the internet, a practice engaged in by one in 12 of the population, could lead to severe restrictions on internet access and a fine of up to £50,000.Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, is said to be persuaded by the argument for tough laws to curb illegal file-sharing after an intensive lobbying campaign by influential people in the music and film industry.But Tom Watson, the former minister for digital engagement, today criticises the proposed crackdown as extreme and calls for a more measured approach that would target those who uploaded illegal content, rather than the millions who downloaded the files. see:Tom Watson: Heavy-handed regulation will not help to nurture creative talent in the digital age
In tough times there’s nothing strange in businesses coming to the Government for help. But there’s one type of industry that was established in the lobby chamber long before the credit crunch: publishers and distributors of information goods and, in particular, the music industry.Challenged by the revolutionary distribution mechanism that is the internet, big publishers are seeing their power and profits diminish.Faced with the choice of accepting this and innovating or, King Canute-style, staying the tide of change, they’re choosing the latter option, and looking to Parliament for help with some legislative sandbags. at risk of prosecution in internet piracy purge
Millions of parents whose teenage children illegally download films and pop songs face having their internet connection cut off and fines of up to £50,000.The move is being pushed by Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, who is keen to adopt a tougher approach to internet piracy, which is estimated to cost the movie industry alone around £1.4 billion a year.

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