Crackdown on internet pirates

A child listens to music

Internet users who illegally download music and films face a crackdown as part of a new initiative to wipe-out online piracy.

The six major internet providers have today confirmed a new agreement with the government and representatives of the music industry to do more to target people who illegally file-share. The initiative follows accusations that internet providers weren’t doing enough to discourage people from downloading music and film online for free, despite the illegal nature of file-sharing.

The initiative will see people suspected of illegally downloading material targeted in a mail campaign, with letters being sent out warning them about the consequences of their actions. Hardcore file-sharers may even see their broadband connections slowed, making it harder for them to download music and film, and making general internet usage slower.

There are also proposals to make material legally available to internet users, although the government has dismissed reports that in return surfers will be required to pay a £30 annual levy.

The six internet providers who have signed up to the agreement are BT, Virgin, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse.

Andy Burnham, the culture, media and sport secretary, says people should not be allowed to get away with accessing music and film for free.

“[The initiative] holds out the hope of a sustainable future for music and our other creative industries whilst ensuring that consumers continue to get the full benefits that new technology can offer.”

Other proposals on the table to stamp-out illegal downloads include:

• New laws that require interent providers to pass on the details of people who access illegal material.
• Internet providers might also be given the right to take action against people who illegally file-share either directly or through a third-party body.
• Internet providers might be required to install filtering equipment that blocks content that infringes copyrights.

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