Governement Talks Digital Economy with ISPs

The Government has gathered representatives from both ISPs and the entertainment industry to try and push the disputed Digital Economy Act forward.

Talks between the Government, internet service providers (ISPs) and representatives from the entertainment industry were held this week to brainstorm ideas for legal media content services online.

Following the introduction of the Digital Economy Act, ISPs and members of the music and films industries were put at loggerheads in how to deal with illegal downloaders and P2P filesharers.

A controversial "three strike rule" was introduced with the legislation whereby users would have internet connections cut off - after three warnings - if they were found to be illegally downloading material.

However, the Government has now taken a more encouraging rather than punishing approach to the issue by bringing together both industries to discuss ideas for legal content access for music, film and games online.

The discussions were lead by the minister for the department of media, culture and sport, Jeremy Hunt, and included representatives from TalkTalk and Virgin Media.

In a statement released this week, Hunt claimed positive steps had been taken by all involved.

"I am pleased to hear that real progress has been made by ISPs and the music industry on developing new and attractive services for consumers," he said. "The more choice consumers have, the less attractive the unlawful alternatives will be."

IT PRO asked Andrew Heaney, director of strategy at TalkTalk, how he thought the meeting had gone but he seemed less enthusiastic than the minister.

"[The] meeting basically involved [an] update on progress of negotiations between ISPs and music industry on developing digital music services, progress on search engines prioritising results for 'legal' services and how to progress discussions on web blocking," he said.

"I will leave it for Government to opine on whether it was 'real progress.'"

The companies and Hunt are due to meet again in three months.

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