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UK threatens Web access block in piracy fight

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Deamastad avatar
Posted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 16:36
WATFORD, England (Reuters) - Britain is to push ahead with a law to clamp down on illegal file sharing, that would start with a series of warning letters and could result in repeat offenders losing their Internet connection.

The proposals, which were set out by Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, have followed a high-profile campaign from artists such as Lily Allen and James Blunt, and follow France's move to ban illegal peer-to-peer sharers for up to a year.

The rules could disappoint some of the artists and executives who have campaigned for the law, however, as the government does not plan to introduce the disconnection element of the law for at least a year, once the bill has passed.

Under the British proposals, the new law could be passed by April and rights holders such as music companies and Internet service providers would work together for over a year to send letters to those who are uploading illegal content.

The government hopes that the warning letters will prompt many to curb their activity but after that time, if the rate of illegal downloading has not significantly declined, the government could then introduce technical measures such as slowing broadband speeds and eventual suspension.

"It must become clear that the days of consequence-free widespread online infringement are over," Mandelson told a cabinet (correct spelling) creative industries conference. "Technical measures will be a last resort and I have no expectation of mass suspensions."

Mandelson told reporters the government had not caved in to the music and film lobby and said they were simply establishing a framework of law.

"It's not lawful to thieve other people's creative work, what we're doing is creating new measures that will bring the law up to date, make it enforceable and clearly understood, so we can touch the first base which is to educate people.

"Most people don't think it is illegal, most people think it is a victimless practice that everyone does and why shouldn't they?"

The debate over how to counter illegal file sharing has raged in Britain for the last 18 months, with rights holders and media groups calling on Internet service providers (ISPs) to intervene and disconnect repeat offenders.

The government has released letters of support from media executives, such as Sony Music and Time Warner, music managers and artists, such as Elton John and Noel Gallagher.

However, two of the largest ISPs, BT and Carphone Warehouse , have so far objected to their new role as policemen of the Web and are likely to continue to object.

Mandelson said the new law would be similar to the rules passed recently in France, but said they had not yet agreed on how long any suspension would last.

"I was shocked to learn that only one of every 20 tracks downloaded in the UK is downloaded legally," he said. "The British government's view is that taking people's work without due payment is wrong and that, as an economy based on creativity, we cannot sit back and do nothing as this happens."
Boxley avatar
Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 18:41
Hi Deamastad I’m from the UK and with O2 Broadband and until recently I thought they were a great broadband provider but now they have started restricting P2P during "peak hours", which so far seems to be all the time.

According to O2’s customer service the government is now requesting that all ISP record all P2P usage and inform the authorities of any “heavy users”. Of course this isn’t free and so to get around having to do this O2 are simply preventing usage of P2P networks for all their customers.

They are essentially outlawing P2P in its entirety, how this is even legal I don’t know, it probably isn’t, but I doubt O2 will be the only provider to implement this.

Luckily Vuze’s encryption is currently capable of getting around this, though, I don’t know for how much longer...
Deamastad avatar
Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 23:07
Thank you very much for your reply and this info will help many people in the UK. P2P will always find a way. it's the future of entertainment, they just need to figure out how to capitalize on it.
GMD avatar
Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 23:53
"The proposals, which were set out by Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, have followed a high-profile campaign from artists such as Lily Allen and James Blunt, and follow France's move to ban illegal peer-to-peer sharers for up to a year"

I knew James Blunt had to be in there, that guy couldnt take a joke when my mate presented him with a pirated CD from the local dodgy CD shop to sign when I was on operations in kosovo. He dropped it to the floor a smashed it up.
Blunt was in the Army before he started whining on CDs I bet he bought quite a few Pirated CD/DVDs whilst on operations around the world, now he fights the battle against us.
jdrav avatar
Posted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 08:46
In the UK it is illegal to even put your tracks on an mp3 player, but this would be impossible to police so nothing gets done!!

Agian if I go to the shop, buy a dvd, it is illegal to put it on my mp4 player or copy it in any way!!

It is illegal for me to distribute this dvd or music in any shape or form, because when I bought them it is for my own personal use>

So does this mean that the police are going to break down my door because I gave the said dvd's and cd's away as christmas presents?
The recipients didn't pay any duty on the content.

Got to go I think somebody's at door :-}

jdrav avatar
Posted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 09:01
Just another thought

Does this mean that the uk is turning into a communist state restricting the use of the internet and the freedom that the web brings?

China does this to its population and regulates what they can access.

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