Government urged to disconnect pirate file sharers


Unions and businesses from Britain's creative industries have come together to urge the government to make a decisive move against illegal file-sharing.

Organisations including the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) made a statement urging the government to protect industry from the threat of illegal downloading and piracy.

The groups called on ISPs to first send warning notices to offenders, and if multiple warnings were ignored, to then disconnect users who continue to download illegally.

In practice, this would mean the government would need to create new legislation alongside Ofcom.

The call to action comes as the government this summer finalises its Digital Britain report, which recommended ways to protect digital industries.

"The UK government has the opportunity to take action now to address piracy which will protect the 800,000 jobs dependent upon the creative industries in the UK," said Equity general secretary Christine Payne in a statement.

France has previously tried to implement a similar system, but it has since been overturned. The EU has also slammed the plans, while the UK's own intellectual minister this January said the government would not force ISPs to take such action.

Industry body the Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA) said it disputed the calls for the disconnection of users, or any other type of technological measure to deal with copyright infringement.

ISPA also said that ISPs, consumers groups and the European Parliament believed that disconnection was a disproportionate response.

"ISPA recognises that there is a problem with unlawful P2P file sharing," said ISPA secretary Nicholas Lansman.

"But it is important to recognise that a major part of the solution lies in licensing reform and the availability of legal content online."

The call comes as the British Software Alliance revealed that 41 per cent of all software was pirated, while 35 billion was lost in revenue last year.