Government addresses file-sharing

News by Dan Raywood

New measures have been introduced by the Government to address unlawful file-sharing.

New measures have been introduced by the Government to address unlawful file-sharing.

The measures have been formed as an agreement signed by Virgin Media, Sky, Carphone Warehouse, BT, Orange and Tiscali along with the music and film rights-holders and the Government. Its aim is to provide consumers with content and encourage new uses of technology, as well as protecting companies from piracy.


Deliberately industry-led, the approach involves signatories working together to engage with and educate users about unlawful file sharing, make material legally available online in a wide range of user-friendly formats and create a self-regulatory environment, with the involvement of Ofcom, including informing consumers of the illegality of file sharing and pointing to alternative legal methods available.


This agreement has been made ahead of the introduction of a Code of Practice, to be made between ISPs and rights holders, on how they will deal with alleged repeat infringers. The Government will consult to give this Code legislative underpinning and discussions will be facilitated by Ofcom to ensure that the self-regulatory mechanism is effective, proportionate and fair to consumers.


John Hutton, Secretary of State for Business, said: “This is an intelligent approach to tackling unlawful fire-sharing by industry and ISPs. It tells consumers what they can do, rather than just what they can't. This light-touch approach keeps up with the pace set by technology and will protect consumers, creative industries and the use of technology now and in the longer term.”


Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Andy Burnham said: “It's a great thing that new technology lets young people today explore popular culture in a way my generation simply could not. But this freedom cannot extend to allowing people to think they can access content for free.


“Britain's creative industries have grown quickly in the last 10 years and will play a bigger role in our future. Their success is critically underpinned by workable systems of copyright and that is why the issues we are discussing today go to the heart of our economy. We made a commitment to tackle these difficult issues and I am encouraged by the new focus and momentum.”

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