30 October 2009 | 17,858 views

Illegal File Sharers To Be Cut Off By 2011

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It was 2008 when the UK government originally proposed disconnecting pirates from the Internet, then a few months later Australia followed suit.

The latest is that it’s really going to be legislated and will come into force by April 2010 under the Digital Economy Bill.

I’ve noticed this trend picking up lately, a few companies are adopting this strategy or at least discussing it. First hit – warning, second hit – suspension then finally third hit is permanent disconnection and possible blacklisting.

Illegal file-sharers could be booted off the internet by summer 2011, says Lord Mandelson. The Business Secretary, who has been charged with ironing out the UK’s plans to tackle internet piracy, revealed that disconnecting repeat offenders will be a last resort.

Mandelson told the government’s Digital Creative Industries Conference that the “consequence-free” days of illegal file-sharing are over, and that a “legislate and enforce” strategy had been identified as the best way to tackle the problem. “Three strikes is a reasonable way of describing our approach,” he said.

The legislation, which will see those caught illegally downloading sent warning letters, will be officially set out in the Digital Economy Bill that is expected next month and will come into force in April 2010. “Technical measures will be a last resort and I have no expectation of mass suspensions resulting.”

I don’t see what the big deal is really, just use encrypted protocols or sign up to a VPN package and use another country that’s no so big on stamping down on piracy.

A lot of people use VPNs here in US or UK simply because BitTorrent traffic is throttled, it’s a small price to pay.

The same measures could be used to avoid any ISP snooping and get your downloads in peace. The whole Torrent scene has become a bit of a mess lately and it’s a hotpot of bogus files and tracked downloads.

Even with something like PeerGuardian you aren’t totally safe.

Repeat offenders will be issued with a second letter. If this fails to stop them illegally downloading, they will be put on a “serious infringers list”, with ISPs expected to “exercise technical measures”.

Mandelson also said that Ofcom will monitor the success of the warning letters in the first year and if illegal file-sharing has not reduced by 70 percent then suspending net connections will be brought into force.

“The threat for persistent individuals is, and has to be, real, or no effective deterrent to breaking the law will be in place,” he added.

Mandelson also said a “proper route of appeal” would be available for those suspended from the web. Once notified of possible suspension, offenders will be given 20 working days to appeal to an independent body, although Ofcom has yet to appoint the body. Mandelson said the suspension would not come into force until the appeal has been heard.

It’s interesting as well that they aren’t going hardcore right off the bat, they are still giving people a chance. If piracy reduces by 70% after the initial measures are put in place no-one will get disconnected.

Does that mean 30% of people can still download copyright content without any repercussions?

I’ll be watching the implementation anyway to see what kind of effect it has, I’d like to see the figures before and after 12 months and of course the metrics for measurement.

Source: Network World



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7 Responses to “Illegal File Sharers To Be Cut Off By 2011”

  1. fic 30 October 2009 at 11:58 am Permalink

    The hydra will just adapt with the laws and make it harder to locate the source.

  2. droope 30 October 2009 at 12:32 pm Permalink

    What if someone invented some evil software that would download illegal software in order to get the owner of the conection suspended?

    That would be a big hit… both to the prosecuters, and the inoccent bystander. I’d bet the innocent bystander – i.e the owner of the conection – would be rather pissed… Maybe pissed enough to riot against the bill, along with the legitimate illegal file downloaders?

  3. Sambora 31 October 2009 at 3:02 pm Permalink

    It’s still a little early to see how this is all going to fall out. They have a serious legal problem on their hands because they aren’t crafting a specific law that file sharer’s would be breaking, and there’s no provision for legal due process before warning letters or notices of disconnection would be sent. The ISPs are just supposed to take the media companies’ word for it that a particular IP address was observed to be used in file sharing, and the “owner” of that IP address is automatically guilty as charged. There’s the little ditty about a right to appeal, but this is only available after the citizen has already been declared guilty by persons operating entirely outside of a courtroom with a judge and jury. Assumed guilty until proven innocent is not sitting too well with any jurist worthy of practicing the profession. I’ve read that TalkTalk is already planning to challenge the legality of this law if it is passed.

  4. Morgan Storey 4 November 2009 at 2:58 am Permalink

    @droope: Excellent idea, I think it was mentioned somewhere else (pauldotcom maybe) as basically an easy way to dos someone. No technical ability required, just send in official looking complaint to ISP x that company y (who happens to run on isp x) is downloading movie a, b and c. A day later send another letter, company y is kicked effectively downing their site(s). This would cause utter havok… and it wouldn’t take to long for the law to either be recinded or proper channels for complaints would need to be made.
    Then enter the spammer who simply innundates the official complaint service, then the backlog goes from days to years, so no one gets kicked…

    Horribly flawed idea that will not work, admitedly an ISP I did some work for did this. Basically on the second complaint the customer was blacklisted unless a reasonable excuse could be made, the customers details were not released to the company complaining.

  5. Harry Barracuda 10 November 2009 at 10:24 am Permalink

    Yes, let the government decide what you should and shouldn’t download.

    If you let this pass you are a bunch of fucking sheep!

  6. Mark 30 November 2009 at 5:40 am Permalink

    Do you really think that ISP’s will disconnect paying customers? I think not!

  7. Droog 2 December 2009 at 9:14 pm Permalink

    Like Morgan said, hopelessly FLAWED.
    All it would take would be a semi-organised resistance to overwhelm the appeal process, then see how long it stays in place.
    These dorks can’t even handle immigration appeals in less than 5 years, and if a legal test case is launched and funded by appeals for donations, the law would never pass the constitutional test (UK or US).
    All the frightened little sheep would probably comply though, and that’s where the challenge would be, how to motivate people to stand up for their own freedoms. There’s been a lot of slippage there since 9/11.
    But having said all that, the times they are a-changin, adapt or give up and join the lemmings.
    Cheers 2 All.