Minister threatens UK ISP’s with piracy legislation

The governments parliamentary Under Secretary for Innovation, Universities & Skills, Lord Triesman, has become the latest minister to warn UK ISP's about the need to combat software piracy on their networks.

Triesman has threatened to introduce new legislation unless ISP's construct voluntary arrangements, which would appear to be firmly aimed at illegal file-sharers abusing P2P networks:

"For the most part I think there are going to be successful voluntary schemes between the creative industries and ISPs. Our preferred position is that we shouldn't have to regulate. We have some simple choices to make. If creative artists can't earn a living as a result of the work they produce, then we will kill off creative artists and that would be a tragedy."

The good news, depending on your perspective, is that discussions between the government and ISP's appear to be going a lot better than they were six months ago. However solving the problem is no mean feat as a spokesman for the UK Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) points out below:

"ISPs cannot monitor or record the type of information passed over their network. ISPs are no more able to inspect and filter every single packet passing across their network than the Post Office is able to open every envelope.

ISPs deal with many more packets of data each day than postal services and data protection legislation actually prevents ISPs from looking at the content of the packets sent."

The BBC News Online item reports that the more aggressive stance has been welcomed by various music industry officials; though it's unclear precisely what solution can be reached without threatening personal privacy.

UK ISP’s also exist in an aggressively competitive market where margins can often be extremely tight, which will be made even more difficult once the government formally expands its ‘Snooping’ data retention laws to include Internet traffic.

We fear that government ministers often fail to see why what they’re proposing could be so problematic, due in no small part to a lack of technical understanding of how the Internet works.

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