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UK Government threatens ISPs with file sharing laws.. again

UK Government threatens ISPs with file sharing laws.. again

The UK government has once again reiterated its threat to impose legislation upon ISPs, unless of course they agree to a voluntary solution for tackling illegal file-sharing by April next year.

Understandably the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) has retaliated, warning that such regulation could be "cumbersome" and that ISPs were "mere conduits of information, [BEARING] no legal liability for content on their servers."

Malcolm Wicks, business, enterprise and regulatory reform minister, told Parliament government had to recognise that its hopes for a "voluntary agreement" with ISPs to regulate illegal file trading online "might be too ambitious".

He said in a written answer to MPs: "It would be very disappointing if we have to legislate — but nobody should doubt our willingness to do so if an agreement cannot be reached."

An ISPA spokesman said: "It is ISPA's preference to agree a non-legislative solution which carefully considers the complex legal framework — as recognised by the Culture Secretary — in which ISPs operate. This includes the Electronic Commerce Directive Regulations 2002 and the Data Protection Act 1998 which can limit what action ISPs can lawfully take against users' private communications."

Readers will no doubt be quick to recall that Virgin Media recently began trials of a new system with the BPI (news), which involves customers found to have downloaded illegal music being sent "educational" letters.

This is similar to the BPI’s previously proposed “three-strikes” method, which is covered in our recent article - 'To Ban or Not to Ban (Illegal File Sharers)'.


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