By Lea Pachta

The long awaited Digital Britain report by Lord Carter, minister for communications, technology and broadcasting has been published today. The report reveals the UK Government’s strategy for broadband and digital content and provides a policy framework for the media, technology, telecoms, music and film-industries.

British Internet service providers (ISPs) have been told they need to decrease illegal filesharing on their own networks by 70% within a year. The Government has given this power to the communications regulator Ofcom. The body will now have the power to make sure that ISPs collect data regarding users who appear to be down (or up) loading illegally and send them a warning. Repeated offenders’ data may be passed on to the holders of the rights, who can then sue them and in extreme cases their internet connection may be cut off.

The legislation is still being discussed, so it will take some time before these proposals will be made law and Ofcom responsible for reducing piracy.

Chapter 4 of the report says “The government considers online piracy to be a serious offence. Unlawful downloading or uploading, whether via peer-to-peer sites or other means, is effectively a civil form of theft. This is not something that we can condone, or to which we can fail to respond.”

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