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UK passes bill that requires anti-piracy monitor

updated 08:25 pm EDT, Tue March 16, 2010

UK bill to force ISPs to monitor, punish pirates

A bill has been passed by the British House of Lords that, if it becomes law, would require Internet Service Providers to report suspected file sharers and copyright violators to copyright holders as well as the UK's Office of Communications (OFCOM). The Digital Economy Bill would be at odds with the way the European Commission handles enforce copyright infringements. OFCOM would need to decide on what ISPs are obligated to do with customers they suspect of infringing copyrights.

Details as to how ISPs would monitor subscribers, when to report on their doings and how long to keep information, as well as what else to do with the data will also the OFCOM's responsibility. ISPs would not be held responsible for the actions of their customers, but only if they would implement technical measures to punish the offending subscribers. Among the steps, customers could have their speed or other service throttled, see certain sites or protocols blocked, or in more extreme cases a full suspension.

Critics have noted that the text of the bill is ambiguous enough as to indicate that subscribers may not have to be proven guilty of their charges. They also note that the law could hold an account or entire household responsible as it would make no distinction between individuals.

The bill will now go to the House of Commons, where it is likely to be hotly contested. Liberal leaders have spoken out against it, saying that punishing users without proving their guilt would be contrary to the EU's Technical Standards Directive. [via BetaNews]

By Electronista Staff


  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    What defines 'suspected piracy'? Anyone who uses any type of P2P app?

    And does this mean the ISPs need to not only look at traffic, but check out each and every packet to verify what is being passed? Otherwise how would they know who to contact about the violation?

  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999



    They've finally found their pretext for ultimate control of the net. An excuse to avail of when they want to turn on or off or limit or monitor the water in the broadband pipe. I'm surprised there isn't a "terrorism" dimension to the whole thing, has that catch-all lost its efficacy? Who would have thought that such fascist draconianism would be at the behest of the supposedly "liberal biased" media industries.

  1. jarod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005



    Dont these morons know that using the proper utilities there is virtually no way to prove or detect anything.

    Same idiots as the RIAA, the more they fight, the bigger they lose.

    Makes for great entertainment though :)

  1. gooser

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Jun 2006


    it's about damn time

    maybe, just maybe someone can slow down this piracy.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Sheer laziness

    The whole reason behind this type of thing is just the laziness of the rights holders. It's too hard to do themselves, so they push some law through to make it the ISP's responsibility.

    And, BTW, this all is beyond the fact that all these groups lose very little money from this type of piracy. It's just, again, too hard for them to track down those that actual pirate and sell copies of their content on the internet, in the streets, and to unsuspecting retailers.

    h***, I was searching for a DVD collection on eBay, and could not believe how many were 'so cheap' and 'new', and how many had comments on them stating such things as "Ships from China?" and "Bootleg copies, not originals". But most didn't care, because it was cheap and, probably, at least they looked legitamate. Do some silk-screening of the disks, manufacture some boxes, it looks like the original.

  1. danviento

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2005


    Way to go, Brits

    You've got private companies doing the detective work instead of paying for it yourself. I hope they're getting a tax break as a result.

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