Mandelson pushes ahead with 'three strikes' policy

Lord Mandelson: Three strikes and you are OUT!
Lord Mandelson: Three strikes and you are OUT!

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has claimed that the government will cut off repeat piracy offenders from the internet, starting summer 2011.

Showing a shocking lack of basic knowledge of how internet technology works, Lord Mandelson wants repeat offenders' internet connections disconnected within 15 months from their offence.

Details on how this will be policed, funded and how repeat offenders will be stopped from connecting to the internet via a different ISP (using a different name/identity where necessary) were not outlined.

Mandy outlined how the cut-off plan will be a two stage process. Stage one is receiving a warning letter, following by an (indefinite) number of further warning letters, threatening action if the ISP account holder continues to download illegally.

Stage one: steal underpants

Stage two will be legal action taken by the rights holder against persistent offenders, who will also be placed on a "serious infringer list" - with Ofcom acting as the organisation to hear appeals.

Ofcom will report quarterly to the Secretary of State, and is charged with reducing piracy in the UK by seventy per cent.

Lord Mandelson admitted this was a "three strikes" policy.

"Technical measures will be a last resort and I have no expectation of mass suspensions resulting," said the Business Secretary.

ISPs and rights holders are apparently going to share the costs of administering Mandelson's new policy.

TechRadar has contacted a number of leading ISPs in the UK today for further comment.

"We need to make breaking the law an unnecessary risk. All the rules need to be sensible and need to be up to date," Mandelson said, noting that moving a purchased song from a CD to iPod or from a computer to an affiliated iPod was still technically illegal.

Morally unsustainable

Mandelson was clear that: "Taking people's work without due payment is wrong. It is not just morally unacceptable but it is unsustainable... The days of consequence free online infringement are over."

"I'm a big defender of an economy based on making things… in terms of added value the difference between making a car or a plane or a television programme or computer game is a meaningless one."

You can see more on Mandelson's controversial Cabinet Forum Conference this morning online.

Adam Hartley