Legislation proposed in the UK today would allow government ministers to cut off Internet access to persistent file-sharers.
Earlier this summer the “Digital Britain” agenda had included using education to suppress file-sharers. It left a window for British broadcasting regulator Ofcom to get ISPs to slow down repeat offenders’ Internet connections if infringement warning letters — which have been very effective in the past — didn’t bring down piracy activity by 70 percent by 2012. But Lord Peter Mandelson said today he wants to “beef up the policy,” and would give himself — the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills — the ability to monitor and cut off copyright infringers, via their ISPs.
British ISPs, for their part, say they don’t want the responsibility of policing the web. In response to the legislation, a spokeswoman for Virgin Media told the BBC a “heavy-handed, punitive regime will simply alienate consumers.”
In June, a French court struck down part of an anti-piracy law that would have shut off repeat copyright infringers’ Internet access.