The UK Government has released a consultation into potential legislation aimed at curbing illicit filesharing on the net. Several of the legislative options on the table are worrying, and mirror schemes being discussed in various national and international fora. They include streamlining the legal process to require ISPs to provide personal data relating to an IP address, handing responsibility for taking action against illicit filesharers to a third party body, or requiring ISPs to take action against users themselves or to install filtering equipment to block infringing content.
At the same time a "Memorandum of Understanding", negotiated behind-the-scenes with strong influence from the Government, between the UK's six major ISPs (Virgin Media, Sky, Carphone Warehouse, BT, Orange and Tiscali) and the British Phonographic Industry and the Motion Picture Association. Signatories endorse five principles in the MoU:
- That a joint industry solution is the best way forward
- That they will work together to educate consumers about why illicit filesharing is wrong
- That making content available in a wide range of user-friendly formats is important
- That they will engage in a 3 month trial to send letters to 1,000 subscribers per week suspected of downloading or uploading unlicensed, copyrighted material
- That they will work with OfCom to identify effective measures to deal with repeat offenders
The Open Rights Group has more details