UK Govt. to hear calls to disconnect file sharers

Written by Tim Smalley

May 12, 2009 | 11:16

Tags: #disconnect #file #film #industry #internet #interview #isps #music #p2p #piracy #sharing #tv

Companies: #creative #games #government #uk

An alliance of UK creative industries will today urge the Government to take action against illegal file sharers by forcing ISPs to disconnect them from the Internet if they ignore repeated warnings.

The group, which comprises eight creative bodies and five trade unions, claims that more than 50 percent of all Internet traffic in the UK is from illegal peer to peer file sharing. It also said that jobs in the film, TV, music and software industries are at risk because piracy has become so rampant.

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 a statement to BBC News, Nicholas Lansman, secretary general at the Internet Services Providers’ Association (Ispa), said: “Ispa recognizes that there is a problem with unlawful P2P file sharing, but it is important to recognize that a major part of the solution lies in a licensing reform and the availability of legal content online.

Lansman also said that users would be able to challenge the disconnections in court because the technology available for monitoring and detecting illegal sharers would not stand up as solid evidence in court. While that may be true, it hasn’t stopped authorities such as the RIAA and MPAA from going after American file sharers with little more than an IP address as evidence of who was committing the crime.

It was only last year that the Government introduced urged ISPs to do all they can to prevent illegal downloading, but stopped short of introducing legislation that would force ISPs to ban persistent law-breakers. Many believe the legislation the industry alliance is urging the Government to adopt would be a dangerous precedent to set when, like Lansman states, there are fundamental issues with the way content is being delivered to consumers.

Paying consumers don’t want to be treated like criminals and they want to be able to consume content as and when it is convenient for them to do so. There are many very legal and non-invasive ways for Internet users to consume content, wherever and whenever they want to – BBC iPlayer, Spotify and Steam to name but a few – and the rest of the industry frankly needs to get with the times.

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