Brits to Ban Pirate's Internet Access

Stephen Yagielowicz
LOS ANGELES – The British are set to unveil a novel new strategy for dealing with file traders and other users that illegally download copyrighted materials: banning them from the Internet.

New legislation scheduled for next week will require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to cut access to customers trying to download pirated music or other media; with a warning email sent on the first offence; suspension of services in response to further infringement and termination of Internet services on a "three strikes and your out" policy.

ISPs that do not enforce the new rules would face prosecution.

While no decision has been made on whether or not ISPs should share information about infringers, such a policy would need to be enacted in order to prevent ISP-hopping.

Six million British Internet users annually download illegally copyrighted materials.

Hollywood has been in talks with UK ISPs BT, Tiscali, Orange and Virgin Media, for six months, trying to hammer out a voluntary enforcement scheme, while negotiations with music industry and ISP executives having languished for several years.

"We call upon ISPs to take action now," Roz Groome, vice-president of antipiracy for NBC Universal, said. "They must play their part in the fight against online piracy and work with rights owners to ensure that ISPs' customers do not use their services for illegal activity."

While ISPs acknowledge the problem, they do not see legislation as the solution.

"Every right-thinking body knows that self-regulation is much the better option in these areas," said a spokesperson for the Internet Service Providers Association.