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British ISPs take active role in online piracy fight

updated 04:40 pm EDT, Thu July 24, 2008

UK ISPs join piracy fight

The British music and film industries finally received the cooperation they have been seeking from Internet Service Providers in helping them fight illegal file downloading. A report on Thursday has six of the country's largest Internet providers sending warning letters to subscribers suspected of illegal file downloading and sharing. The decision to do so is commonly believed to be spurred by the British government, which announced earlier this year that it would impose its own laws forcing them to police how their services are used had they failed to cooperate voluntarily.

The government-mandated deal will see Virgin Media, Sky, Carphone Warehouse, BT, Orange and Tiscali send weekly letters over a 3-month period, advising suspected downloaders that their activities are being monitored. If the practice doesn't return agreeable results, the next step will involve working with UK media regulator Ofcom to create a Code of Practice. The code could involve measures such as terminating users' access after three offenses have been committed, slowing the violators' download and upload speeds, as well as filtering content to keep illegal tracks from being downloaded.

ISPs have been reluctant to take on the role of policing how their users use their service, fearing backlash and canceled subscriptions, arguing for the "safe harbor" principle which argues that they are simply providing the service and not responsible for how it's used. The move is expected to intimidate younger law-breakers and to introduce a chilling effect on some forms of illegal file sharing.

The studios themselves would continue work on educating consumers about illegal downloading and develop new legal solutions to their problem in addition to suing those who engaged in the practice previously.

It is estimated 6 million British Internet users illegally distribute copyrighted materials over the Internet, which music and movie publishers claim cost them millions in lost revenue.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Grrr

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Another not very cunningly disguised tax then. The same thing was done years ago on blank cassettes etc.. The idea was that the 'taxation' revenue was redistributed back to artists. If only it was actually redistributed back to artists then it would be ok. But I can tell you now, that it isn't, and I can't see why it will be any different now..
    Most/all of it will be absorbed by corporate fat cats.

    On top of that, its another backwards step for the internet. More policed, more expensive, less freedom and less private.

    And no, I don't support piracy. Im just against spying and stealth taxes like this on principle.

  1. Grrr

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Ok, i should have read the entire article first. Because it misses out something important. IE, about proposed additional charges, which is what I was on about.
    This isn't just about a virtual slapped wrist via a couple of moody letters from the ISP.

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    except the above headline

    does not take into account that this "deal is betwen the UK Music Industry and the the UK based ISP companies and that the UK Gov't has frowned upon this a few times in the past.

    On top of which it is pretty much non-enforcible.

    All they can do is waste paper and resources by sending a "warning".

    And it's flawed because someone who is hogging traffic with illegal file-sharing could be confused with someone legitimately streaming heavy content to their computer, someone could be the victim of a piggy-back where Party B is spoofing their IP Address to run illegal practices and then Party A gets blamed for liiegla stuff and gets a warning.

    Then the ISP shuts down a legitimate customer and all sorts of legal problems come up.

    Change the headline MacNN.

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