updated 03:00 pm EDT, Wed October 28, 2009
UK introduces 3-strike illegal download policy
The UK government's business secretary, Lord Mandelson, has confirmed initial plans to cut off Internet service for those who persistently, illegally download files. The policy should take effect in the summer of 2011 but will allegedly be considered a "last resort" after three notifications. After two initial warnings with close monitoring over the space of a year, Internet users would be disconnected with three months' opportunity to appeal the decision.
The strategy closely parallels that of France's newly enacted law, which has been nicknamed the "three strikes law" for the number of warnings and the end result. Lord Mandelson admits the similarities.
"Three strikes is a reasonable way of describing our approach," he says.
Suspected violators will get warning letters starting in April of 2010 and will be used as an initial gauge of the effectiveness of the approach. If a 70 percent reduction in illegal downloading isn't detected a year later, the UK will begin sending disconnection notices to these early targets.
Critics have resisted measures on this level under the belief that they effectively deprive a customer of an important utility. They have also noted the disproportionate response and at times accused governments of acting on behalf of music labels and movie studios. Concern also exists that this policy could be modified or halted if an election changes the government before the policy can come into action. [via The Guardian]