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FAST Supports Disconnection of P2P File Sharing Pirates from ISPs

Posted: 08th Jan, 2009 By: MarkJ
The UK's Federation Against Software Theft (FAST IiS) has given a cautious welcome to New Zealand's new copyright protection laws, which will terminate Internet access for repeat copyright infringers. FAST now appears to be promoting a similar system for use with UK broadband ISPs:

According to James Craig, Legal Counsel at FAST IiS, the proposal offers a possible option for the UK to follow: “This is definitely something the UK can look at, albeit with tightly-defined definitions,” says James. “At FAST IiS we favour a three strikes and you’re out policy. This allows a gradual build up of pressure on copyright infringers that ranges from notification of wrongdoing, possible reduction in bandwidth for a second offence, and termination of connection for persistent content thieves.”

However FAST, unlike certain creative industry representatives’ in the UK, does at least acknowledge that the technology to identify illegal file sharers is not foolproof. It warns that care needs to be taken in order to ensure that innocent people do not suffer.

One problem is that some P2P networks add spoof or fake IP addresses into their systems to confuse the identification of wrongdoers, which can be problematic for legitimate users utilising the real address. Those with hijacked IP's and unwitting owners of shared computers can also be unfairly blamed:

“These issues need to be taken into consideration before anyone is sanctioned, as unfounded accusations do not benefit anyone in the consumer or copyright community. Here in the UK a coherent strategy that works for all copyright holders who suffer digital theft would benefit the entire country," concluded James Craig.

It’s interesting to note that last year’s preliminary memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the UK’s big six ISPs and the creative industry only agreed to the principle of warning those broadband users identified as having shared illegal content. The issue of disconnection remains firmly off limits, while other potential penalties for persistent offenders have yet to be agreed.

We hope to have some exclusive new details on how the current talks are going sometime this month. Certainly 2009 looks as though it will be a make or break year for UK ISPs and online piracy, with the government threatening legislative alternatives unless a solution can be found over the next few months.
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