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Government 'rules out' disconnection for illegal file sharers

Jan 26th 2009, 00:00

The government has ruled out a move that would have seen internet service providers (ISPs) forced to disconnect users who illegally share music online.

According to the Times, intellectual property minister David Lammy has revealed that there are no plans to introduce regulation that would force ISPs to terminate the service of internet pirates.

Mr Lammy claimed that a memorandum of understanding drawn up between the music industry and ISPs last year to target illegal peer-to-peer networks would be enough to prevent the necessity for such legislation.

He also noted that there were likely to be a series of complex legal issues involved in disconnecting users which would make it difficult to implement.

The news comes as a disappointment to music industry figures, but has been welcomed by ISPs.

British Telecom revealed that it is hopeful of reaching "an amicable solution" to the problem of illegal downloading without the need for legislation.

"It doesn't make sense to try to get people online and at the same time scare them away," the firm commented.

Mr Lammy added that the introduction of new rules to force ISPs to disconnect illegal file sharers could also be problematic because there is "a big difference" between organised counterfeiting gangs and unruly teenage web users.

"We can't have a system where we're talking about arresting teenagers in their bedrooms," he commented.

This comes after the Federation Against Software Theft (Fast), the UK's first software anti-piracy organisation, called for a "three strikes and you're out" policy for repeat copyright infringers.

The group claimed that this would allow "a gradual build-up of pressure" on internet pirates and see the broadband services of persistent content thieves terminated.

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