Minister airs doubts about file-sharing law

Questions forcing ISPs to cut off sharers

A government minister has told The Times that he doesn't believe that it would be possible to enforce a law that requires ISPs to disconnect illegal file sharers.

Increasing focus is being put on ISPs and their role in stopping file-sharing of copyrighted material.

However, despite Culture Secretary Andy Burnham hinting at legislation last year, Intellectual Property Minister David Lammy has voiced his concerns that any legal measures would be impractical.

"I'm not sure it's actually going to be possible," he told The Times.

Bar of soap

"We can't have a system where we're talking about arresting teenagers in their bedrooms. People can rent a room in an hotel and leave with a bar of soap - there's a big difference between leaving with a bar of soap and leaving with the television," he added.

It's an interesting opinion in the current climate – where the likes of the BPI (formerly the British Phonographic Industry) are pressuring ISPs to take some form of action.

Some self-regulation has followed and major ISPs have been signing up to a code of conduct that sees those accused of illegal file sharing served with 'educational' letters warning them about the potentially illegal course of action they're taking.

But enforcing the system has always been an issue – especially bearing in mind that networks can often be used by people other than the owners.

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Global Editor-in-Chief

Patrick (Twitter) is Global Editor-in-Chief for techradar, and has been with the site since its launch in 2008. He is a longstanding judge of the T3 Awards, been quoted or seen on everything from the The Sun to Sky News and is on the #CoolBrands Council. He started his career in football, making him one of approximately one journalists to have covered both a World Cup final and an iPhone launch.