The government may have rejected calls from the creative industries to force ISPs to disconnect uses caught sharing illegal material. The Digital Britain report from Lord Carter, due to be released on the 16th of June, was expected to back the film and music industries desire of a "three strikes and your out" policy, but Andy Burnham, culture secretary, has confirmed that cutting people off is not the government's preferred option, but it instead favours technical solutions.
"The Digital Britain report coming out soon will build on last year's Memorandum of Understanding between content holders and ISPs to tackle illegal file sharing. It is likely to include an obligation on ISPs to send out letters to people who are infringing copyright.
"What Mr Burnham also said was there was the likelihood that the MoU would be backed up by new powers for Ofcom to impose 'technical solutions' for repeat offenders if that process of sending out letters was not effective enough."Spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport
The MoU referenced is an understanding between the British Recorded Music Industry and the six largest broadband providers in the UK to send out letters to customers of the ISPs where illegal activity has been identified. No remedy for repeat offenders had been established when the MoU was signed.
This new proposal may mean Ofcom will force providers to implement traffic management to slow down the connections of offenders, or possibly even limit what they can actually access. Whilst many of the larger providers already implement traffic management to ensure that a small number of users cannot degrade the service of everyone else, some smaller service providers pride themselves on offering an unlimited connection without traffic shaping. These smaller providers may have to rethink their product offerings if they are forced to purchase expensive deep packet inspection hardware without some kind of subsidy from the creative industries who are set to gain the most from this.