UK confirms plans to cut off Internet service to alleged pirates

“The UK government’s business secretary, Lord Mandelson, has confirmed initial plans to cut off Internet service for those who persistently, illegally download files,” Electronista reports.

“The policy should take effect in the summer of 2011 but will allegedly be considered a ‘last resort’ after three notifications,” Electronista reports. “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.”

Electronista reports, “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.”

Full article here.


  1. Why do they always talk about penalising people who *download* illegal content? Surely it’s the person who *uploads* it to the net in the first place that they should concentrate on? Why can’t it be three strikes and out for illegal uploaders?

  2. Interesting.

    I guess Internet access is now such a “right” that a thief can complain with a straight face when his ability to steal is cut off. I once took a spray can away from a tagger who was spraying graffiti across a local storefront. His complaints sounded much like some of the above comments.

    Q: would anyone actually be caught by this law?

  3. I just have to ask one question. What do they really wan to achieve here?
    Surely this will do more bad than good anyway. Half the shows I watch are recommended by people who have downloaded them in the first place. Word of mouth is the still the best marketing system. Why try reinvent the wheel?

  4. Predrag,

    The point here isn’t JUST that someone innocent might get cut off, but the fact that by using the industry’s preferred “three accusations and you’re out”, the civil rights and rights to due process of those accused are being violated.

    So it doesn’t matter at this point whether the accused is guilty or not, but that they should be allowed their day in court to properly defend themselves – BEFORE they get cut off!!

    One’s legal defense should never get put off until after the punishment has been carried out – especially if no guilty verdict has been pronounced FIRST.

  5. @ Jamie,

    Totally agree with you on Mandelson. I never liked the way he has been given access to power. Blair definitely favored him in a way that was not good and the current leadership give him positions even though he is unelected. I’m a Labour supporter but I do think Mandelson has not helped the party in any way.

    Dealing with pirates is tricky since it is quite common for the average person to have downloaded copyrighted material for free. I still think that cutting off the service is a better solution than hauling people into court and fining them 100,000s for pirating.

    The 3 strikes rule could work because it provides plenty of opportunity to stop downloading for free. Whether the ISPs are able to do this fairly is another question.

    I’ve live in the US and the cost of internet is pretty high. I would like to see tiered services so that the high volume consumer has to pay more. It would be good if there were $20 / month services available for the customer who rarely downloads and mostly surfs the web. At the moment I able buy cable, internet and phone from Comcast and the total packing costs in excess of $130 a month.

  6. @DogGone,

    Wow, $130 is pretty steep!

    I use Virgin here in the UK – £30 per month for 70+ TV channels, a fixed phone line (monthly line rental included) with free evening and weekend calls and 20MB broadband with unlimited usage. All fibre-optic, always connected.

    I guess things are pretty different in the US…

  7. @DogGone,

    “I still think that cutting off the service is a better solution than hauling people into court and fining them 100,000s for pirating.”

    So violating people’s rights and not giving them a chance to defend themselves is better than allowing themselves a chance to prove they are innocent?

    If you allow the music cartels (and that’s what they think they are) to call the shots that way, then you can kiss your civil rights goodbye.

    Time and time again, they have proven themselves incapable of understanding the process and unable to actually prove they know who the real downloaders are.

    Plus, you are allowing them to set the terms of the debate.

    People who illegally download music are not stealing. They are committing copyright violations. The two are not at all the same, nor should they be.

    One person downloading a few songs, even a few hundred, for their own use, are not committing commercial copyright violations, and should not be subject to huge fines.

    The music cartels cannot prove that a downloaded song is a lost sale. In fact, studies have proven that a downloaded song often leads to several sales of other songs by the same artist.

    This is a travesty of justice, and if the British government is allowed to get away with making this into law, you ALL have lost a tremendous amount of freedom.

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