added: 9 Oct 2013 // by: Music-News.com Newsdesk
BT , Virgin Media, BSkyB and Talk Talk are being asked to sign up to a voluntary code for policing illegal downloading.
18% of internet users aged 12 and over have recently illegally downloaded content, with just 9% worried their actions could be punished.
Broadband providers are being asked to create a database of customers illegally downloading music, films and books, which could be used to disconnect or prosecute persistent offenders.
Many providers are being asked by music and film companies to sign up to a voluntary code for policing illegal downloading.
Between November 2012 and January this year, 280m music tracks were digitally pirated in the UK, along with 52m television shows, 29m films, 18m ebooks and 7m computer software or games files.
Studios and music labels want action now because the Digital Economy Act, which was created to combat piracy, has yet to be implemented despite being voted into law by parliament in 2010. Delays mean the act will not come into force until 2014 at the earliest, and could be pushed back until after the general election in 2015.
The letters could warn of consequences and direct internet users to legal sites selling music, videos and books. Those who received three such letters could face sanctions.
Measures could include throttling internet connections to slow them down, blocking users from particular sites, disconnecting offenders from broadband for a limited period and ultimately prosecution. Broadband companies would need to keep a list of those customers they had sent letters to.
There are concerns that such a database may be illegal under the Data Protection Act, which states companies can only retain information about individuals where it is needed for commercial purposes.
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A spokeswoman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the government would not force broadband companies to adopt any fresh measures. She added: "We are aware of industry discussions, and we would welcome a system that was effective and fair to consumers."
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