Stronger anti-piracy powers mooted for ISPs
LONDON - Internet service providers could be given more powers to clamp down on piracy under new Government plans to tackle unlawful file sharing.
ISPs would have the power to take action against individual repeat offenders under new ideas outlined by the Government today (26 August).
Under the direction of Ofcom, the providers would be able to block access to certain sites, reduce broadband speeds, or temporarily suspend individuals Internet accounts as a last resort.
Previously, it had been proposed that Ofcom would undergo a detailed process in order to ascertain that technical measures were required.
However, the earliest these measures could come into play would be in 2012, which the Government has deemed could be too long to wait, given the pressure put on the creative industries by piracy. The new measures outlined would potentially allow action to be taken earlier.
However, the issue of how the costs of the process should be covered have not been resolved. The Government has mooted proposals that some costs, such as the operating costs of sending out notifications and Ofcom's costs as the Regulator, should be shared equally between ISPs and rights holders.
Therefore, the Government has extended its consultation on the new ideas until 29 September and is seeking views on the issue.
Financial Secretary Stephen Timms, the minister responsible for Digital Britain, said: "Technology and consumer behaviour is fast-changing and it's important that Ofcom has the flexibility to respond quickly to deal with unlawful file sharing."