Illegal filesharers will not be disconnected from the internet as previously suggested in the Digital Economy Bill, the government has announced.
The announcement was made in a statement on a petition on the Number 10 website asking the Prime Minister to “abandon Lord Mandelson’s plans to ban individuals from the internet based on their use of ‘peer-to-peer’ file sharing”.
In the statement the government explains that “we will not terminate the accounts of infringers – it is very hard to see how this could be deemed proportionate except in the most extreme – and therefore probably criminal – cases.”
It goes on to say that “The Bill would require ISPs to write to their customers whose accounts had been identified by a rights holder as having been used for illegal down loading of their material.
“In the cases of the most serious infringers, if a rights holder obtains a court order, the ISP would have to provide information so that the rights holder can take targeted court action.”
This targeted action may be a bandwidth restriction, a daily downloading limit or, as a last resort, temporary account suspension. The government seeks to reassure, stating that an independent appeal would be available against application of technical measures.
Last month TechEye revealed that the government is planning to charge filesharers for the court costs of appealing.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights has said that the government would not be allowed to cut people off from the internet.
Filesharing has become a key talking point for the upcoming elections, with David Cameron revealing on his website that he would require Internet Service Providers to “block access and indeed close down offending file-sharing sites”.
The government is hoping that the Digital Economy Bill will reduce illegal peer to peer file sharing by 70 percent.
At the time of writing Lord Mandelson’s office were not available for comment.