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The Internet

In the UK, a Plan To Criminalize Illegal Downloaders 382

krou writes "It looks like the launch of the UK Pirate Party came not a moment too soon. The Independent reports that Business Secretary Lord Mandelson is going to take a hard-line stance to preserve copyright after intense lobbying by the music and film industry. 'Under the proposed laws, Ofcom, the industry regulator, would be given powers to require Internet service providers to collect information on those who downloaded pirate material. The data would be anonymous, but serious repeat infringers would be tracked down through their computer ID numbers.' Prospective punishments included restricting internet access, either slowing down an offender's broadband or disconnecting them altogether, and fines up to £50,000. The Pirate Party came out against the scheme, calling it a gross invasion of civil liberties, while Tom Watson, the former minister for digital engagement, spoke out against the move, saying that the government should stop trying criminalize downloaders just so as to 'restore 20th-century incumbents to their position of power,' but should instead be 'coming up with interventions that will nurture 21st-century creative talent.'"

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