UK may speed piracy plans

Under Digital Britain proposals the government set a target to reduce illegal filesharing by 70 per cent within a year, and has instructed Internet service providers to write letters to people spotted downloading copyrighted content, backed by the threat of court action against persistent offenders.

Under the Digital Britain proposals, if that did not have the desired impact, Ofcom, the communications regulator, would be given powers to intervene, employing measures such as slowing offenders' internet connections or blocking access to piracy sites. The government is now considering giving Ofcom those powers sooner after renewed lobbying from rights holders. It is considering updating those proposals before mid-September, when the consultation period was due to end, after a "vigorous" response from content owners and internet service providers to the plans.

Rights holders, such as record labels or film producers, have been concerned that the pace of progress was too slow. However, it is unlikely government will return to the idea – not included in the final Digital Britain report – that an independent "rights agency" be created to broker digital content deals between rights holders and service providers.

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