Strike 3! and you'e out!

People who illegally download films and music will be cut off from the internet under new legislative proposals to be unveiled next week.

Internet service providers (ISPs) will be legally required to take action against users who access pirated material, The Times has learnt.

Users suspected of wrongly downloading films or music will receive a warning e-mail for the first offence, a suspension for the second infringement and the termination of their internet contract if caught a third time, under the most likely option to emerge from discussions about the new law.

Broadband companies who fail to enforce the three-strikes” regime would be prosecuted and suspected customers’ details could be made available to the courts. The Government has yet to decide if information on offenders should be shared between ISPs.

Six million broadband users are estimated to download files illegally every year in this country in a practice that music and film companies claim is costing them billions of pounds in lost revenue annually.

Britain’s four biggest internet providers – BT, Tiscali, Orange and Virgin Media – have been in talks with Hollywood’s biggest studio and distribution companies for six months over a voluntary scheme.

Parallel negotiations between Britain’s music industry and individual internet providers have been dragging on for two years.

Major sticking points include who will arbitrate disputed allegations, for example when customers claim to have been the victim of “wi-fi piggybacking”, in which users link up to a paid-for wireless network that is not their own. Another outstanding disagreement is how many enforcements the internet companies will be expected to initiate and how quickly warning e-mails would be sent.

International action in the US and France, which is implementing its own “three-strikes” regime, has increased the pressure on British internet companies and stiffened the Government’s resolve.

The commitment forms part of a Green Paper on the creative industries entitled The World’s Creative Hub to be launched by Andy Burnham, the Culture Secretary, and Gordon Brown next week.
Government Censorship Latest News
This SHOULD NOT pass D:
pluh!!!!, Do you guys even care that your downloading days may be OVER? D:
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AKA Ass-Bandit
BBC NEWS | Technology | Net firms reject monitoring role

UK net firms are resisting government suggestions that they should do more to monitor what customers do online.

The industry association for net providers said legal and technical barriers prohibit them from being anything other than a "mere conduit".

The declaration comes as the government floats the idea of persistent pirates being denied net access.

And in the US one net supplier has admitted to "degrading" traffic from some file-sharing networks.

Net firms have been stung into defining their position by the emergence this week of a draft government consultation document that suggests ISPs should be drafted in to the fight against piracy.

It suggested that people who persistently download and share copyrighted material could have their net access removed.

A spokesman for the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) said the 2002 E-Commerce Regulations defined net firms as "mere conduits" and not responsible for the contents of the traffic flowing across their networks.

He added that other laws on surveillance explicitly prohibited ISPs from inspecting the contents of data packets unless forced to do so by a warrant.

The spokesman said technical issues also made it hard for net firms to take action against specific types of traffic.

For instance, he said, while some people use peer-to-peer networks to download copyrighted material many commercial services, such as Napster and the BBC's iPlayer, use file-sharing technology to distribute music and TV legally.

In the US, Comcast admitted in documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission that it does "degrade" some traffic from peer-to-peer networks.

The spokesman added: "We know that all ISPs are involved in traffic management but that is to optimise the service for all their customers."

A spokesman for Virgin Media said its traffic management system came into play during peak times - between 1600 and 2100.

Action was taken against any customer whose usage exceeded a limit associated with their tariff during that five hour window, he said.

"If you exceed that threshold we will drop your speed for five hours from when the excess is recorded," he said.

Browsing speeds are most often managed during the busiest times

Andrew Ferguson, an editor at Think Broadband, said net service firms manage their bandwidth in many different ways.

Almost all, he said, manage traffic but at certain times impose other systems to smooth out the peaks.

"Some firms will happily let you use as much as you like but will charge you accordingly, and business products that are more expensive often allow unlimited use," he said.

Others impose charges on customers who regularly exceed their download limits and a few manage their system so users cannot exceed a monthly download cap. The limits that firms impose can also vary widely.

"Any ISP that does not do traffic management is not going to stay in business very long," said Gavin Johns, managing director of net management firm Epitiro.

He said it was essential to ensure that services which have to be delivered in real time, such as voice and streaming video, were usable.

"Different applications use different ports and have different payloads," said Mr Johns, "They look completely different from a network point of view."

"If they didn't do traffic management we would all complain," he said.

Mr Ferguson from Think Broadband said although traffic management was common, net providers imposed it in contrasting ways.

"What varies is the degree it impacts users and the openness of providers in telling users it exists and what is and is not managed," he told the BBC News website.

"Traffic management has a poor reputation as in many cases it is used to keep bandwidth costs down for a provider with little respect to the consumers' wishes," he said.