BBC says ISPs should cut off pirate connections

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The BBC has said people who repeatedly infringe copyright should not have access to an internet connection and that ISPs should be responsible for making sure they cannot break the law.

The statement was made in a submission to the Australian government's online copyright infringement paper, saying: "ISPs need a policy to deal with repeat offenders," the BBC Worldwide submission reads.

"Possible sanctions could include subjecting repeat offenders to a slowing down of their bandwidth, but stopping short of cutting off the internet service, except in the most serious and egregious circumstances, as is the case in the United States. A competent court or authority should be involved in such cases."

The BBC used the example of Dr Who being distributed illegally in Australia before it was even aired on TV, saying although the leak was down to the broadcaster not putting secure enough controls in place, those who leaked the programme should be punished.

It said, despite the BBC dedicating considerable resources to taking down and blocking access to the materials, 13,000 download attempts were made from Australian IP addresses.

The BBC would like to go down the educational route, warning those who infringe copyright and educating them about the law. If they do not stop illegally downloading content, they should be subject to more serious action - such as their connection being terminated.

Additionally, the BBC said anyone who is proven to be using VPN-style services and consuming a lot of bandwidth in the process should be investigated for piracy.

It said: "It is reasonable for ISPs to be placed under an obligation to identify user behavior that is suspicious' and indicative of a user engaging in conduct that infringes copyright. Such behavior may include the illegitimate use by Internet users of IP obfuscation tools in combination with high download volumes."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.