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Government Preps Three-Strikes Rule For Illegal Downloaders

Posted: 12th Feb, 2008 By: MarkJ
Reports suggest that the government may be gearing up to legislate for a warning system similar to the British Phonographic Industry's (BPI) previously proposed method (details), which could see UK Internet users being banned from their ISP if found to be involved with illegal file sharing.

Those suspected of having downloaded illegal online software, such as pirated music and films, would at first be given an e-mail warning by their ISP to cease the activity. Continued abuse would then result in a temporary account suspension and ultimately termination if the problems continued to persist.

The information emerged after The Times managed to obtain a leaked draft of next weeks Green Paper on the creative industries. The paper states: “We will move to legislate to require internet service providers to take action on illegal file-sharing.” However the method (options) for how this could be done would not follow until several months later.

However the "three-strikes" rule is known to suffer from a number of problems, such as who would arbitrate disputed allegations that arise when consumers feel they have been wrongfully accused (computer hijacked by a Trojan etc.). Meanwhile issues over how long to suspend accounts, how many warnings to send and in what timeframe still remain. Not to mention the problems it could cause in big business environments.

UK ISP's that fail to enforce the "three-strikes" regime could face prosecution and would also be forced to reveal any related customer details to the courts. Meanwhile the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) is still hopeful that a voluntary agreement can be reached in time.
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