Britain’s graduated answer

UK Government just published its vision of the future of Digital Britain. As expected, a section is dedicated to copyright issues. In chapter 4, “Creative Industries in the Digital World”, the report highlights the need to fight unlawful file sharing. It describes the two stage mechanism that the Government foresees to deploy.

The first step is the typical spotting of illegal file sharers and sending notifications. It is expected that this should seriously deter the piracy. nevertheless, if it would not be sufficient then other tools such as traffic shaping, bandwidth capping or address filtering would be deployed.

Legislation to reduce unlawful peer-to-peer file-sharing

The key elements of what we are proposing to do are:
● Ofcom will be placed under a duty to take steps aimed at reducing online copyright infringement. Specifically they will be required to place obligations on ISPs to require them:
– to notify alleged infringers of rights (subject to reasonable levels of proof from rights-holders) that their conduct is unlawful; and
– to collect anonymised information on serious repeat infringers (derived from their notification activities), to be made available to rights-holders together with personal details on receipt of a court order.
Ofcom will also be given the power to specify, by Statutory Instrument, other conditions to be imposed on ISPs aimed at preventing, deterring or reducing online copyright infringement, such as:
●Blocking (Site, IP, URL);
●Protocol blocking;
●Port blocking;
●Bandwidth capping (capping the speed of a subscriber’s Internet connection and/or capping the volume of data traffic which a subscriber can access);
●Bandwidth shaping (limiting the speed of a subscriber’s access to selected protocols/services and/or capping the volume of data to selected protocols/services); and
● Content identification and filtering.
This power would be triggered if the notification process has not been successful after a year in reducing infringement by 70% of the number of people notified.

After one year of experiment, the government would check the efficiency. The objective is to reduce by 70 to 80% unlawful file sharing. If the objective would not be reached, then the Government would study new measures.

The interesting part is the attempt to limit the network use to fight piracy. Nevertheless, it may open the Pandora box. Is it the end of Net neutrality in UK?

The full report is available here.

Thanks to MJC for the pointer to the doc :Happy:

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