Music pirates will not be disconnected from the internet

February 2009

by Patrick Foster , Media Correspondent, The Times

Internet service providers will not be forced to disconnect users who repeatedly flout the law by illegally sharing music and video files, The Times has reportred, saying that whilst Andy Burnham, the Culture Secretary, had indicated that the Government had “serious legislative intent” to compel internet companies to cut off customers who ignore warnings not to pirate material, David Lammy, the Intellectual Property Minister, has now said that the Government had ruled out legislating to force ISPs to disconnect such users saying that there were very complex legal issues wrapped up in enforced disconnection. He added: “I’m not sure it’s actually going to be possible.” The BPI, the body that represents the British record industry, wants all ISPs to sign up to a “three-steps policy” by which repeat offenders are disconnected if they fail to stop sharing copyrighted material – a position adopted in France. Lord Carter, the Communications Minister, is to reveal his thoughts on the problem of illict file sharing in his Digital Britain report due shortly.  Suggestions have emerged that Lord Carter will order the founding of a “rights agency”, funded by a levy on service providers, to address the problem of piracy, or that he may suggest additional charges on customers’ broadband bills to compensate the music industry.

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