Lord Mandelson Confirms Plans To Disconnect File-Sharers
Lord Mandelson has confirmed that the government’s “three strikes” policy on illegal file-sharing will be implemented by 2011.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson warned today that persistent illegal file-sharers will face an escalating series of sanctions culminating in disconnection, as a result of new government legislation.
The government’s strategy, which will be officially announced in the government’s digital economy bill in late November, will be introduced in two stages. The first will consist of sending letters to illegal downloaders and passing their details on to media companies, which have the option of launching their own legal actions.
The second phase, which will be introduced a year after the legislation comes into force, could involve a number of technical measures including slowing down the connection speed of offenders or temporarily suspending their connections.
In a speech today at the Cabinet Forum, Mandelson stressed that offenders will be made fully aware that they are breaking the law before any legal or technical action is taken.
“Technical measures will be a last resort and I have no expectation of mass suspensions resulting,” he said. “If we reach the point of suspension for an individual, they will be informed in advance – having previously received two notifications – and will have the opportunity to appeal.”
Mandelson emphasised that it is the government’s responsibility to protect the rights of creative individuals, but acknowledged that a great deal of work needs to be done to stamp out ingrained attitudes towards the internet.
“A ‘legislate and enforce’ approach to beating piracy can only ever be part of the solution,” he said. “The best long term solution is there in front of our noses. It’s the market – but it has to be a market in which those who love music and film, for example, can find a deal that makes breaking the law an unnecessary risk.”
Mandelson’s hard-line approach to file-sharing has been heavily criticised by ISPs such as BT and Carphone Warehouse, which have complained about the costs of implementing the scheme and the difficulties of enforcement. Earlier this month service provider TalkTalk also attacked the plan, which could see entire households cut off from the internet.
However, Mandelson defended his decision, saying that “The only way to re-establish a strong consensus around the fairness and value of copyright is to bring the whole IP regime into the modern world.”