Persistent file sharers will be given two warnings before being cut off, according to Lord Mandelson

Cutting off persistent file sharers will be a last resort after they are given two warnings.

Speaking at the C&binet forum, business secretary Lord Peter Mandelson claimed that the government has a responsibility to act on illegal file sharing as France and the United States have.

Mandelson said: “We are putting before parliament a proportionate method, we will tell them they have been detected and may be prosecuted, then they may be cut off altogether.”

The proposal is to offer a ‘three strikes and you are out' strategy, Mandelson claimed that he has ‘no expectation of mass suspensions'. This will mean that persistent file sharers will be sent two warning letters before facing disconnection from the network. This will begin from the summer of 2011.

He said: “People will receive two notifications and if it reaches the point they will have the opportunity to appeal.” He also claimed that ‘technical measures will be a last resort but the threat must be real'.

There will be a proper route of appeal and Mandelson does not want service providers to be impacted as he ‘aims to give rights to the copyright holders'.

Mandelson earlier stated that he was ‘shocked' to learn that one out of 20 tracks was downloaded legally. The government ‘cannot sit back and do nothing' as this was ‘morally and commercially unethical'.

“Every time this is ignored, we give free riders to take stuff from the back door. The only way to re-establish a strong consensus is to bring the whole IP regime into modern world,” said Mandelson.

He further claimed that he knew how complicated it can be to build networks, but there are some good cheap legal services. He said that the fact that young people now expect to download content for free was ‘morally as well as economically unsustainable' but he emphasised that ‘legislation and enforcement can only ever be part of the solution'.

He said that tougher penalties are part of the course, but the government needed to be clear on what is and is not allowed.

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