UK Internet Users Could Be Banned For Illegal Downloads

    February 12, 2008

Internet users in the UK who go online and illegally download music and movies could have their Internet access revoked according to plans the government is considering.

A draft proposal says that Internet service providers would have to monitor users who accessed pirated content through their accounts. The government says that plans are in an early stage and it is working on final regulations.

Six million users a year are estimated to download files illegally in the UK and music and film companies say it is costing them millions in lost revenue annually.

The UK’s major Internet providers, including BT, Virgin and Tiscali have been in negations with the entertainment industry about setting up a voluntary plan for monitoring pirate activity but no agreement has been finalized.


The Internet Service Providers Association said information protection laws would not allow providers to look at the content being sent over their networks. "ISPs are no more able to inspect and filter every single packet passing across their network than the Post Office is able to open every envelope," the association said.

"ISPs bear no liability for illegal file sharing as the content is not hosted on their servers," it added.

The BPI, the organization representing the UK record industry, said Internet providers had not done enough to address illegal downloading on their networks. "This is the number one issue for the creative industries in the digital age, and the government’s willingness to tackle it should be applauded," said BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor, according to the BBC.

"Now is not the time for ISPs to hide behind bogus privacy arguments, or claim the problem is too complicated or difficult to tackle."