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Minister airs doubts about file-sharing law

Illegal file-sharers - not to be disconnected?
Illegal file-sharers - not to be disconnected?

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.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the Managing Editor - App Store UK at Apple. He is a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere has been and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.