‘Internet bans considered’ to combat illegal downloads

Ministers are considering plans to block internet access for those who repeatedly download music and films illegally, a newspaper claims.

According to the Times next week’s green paper on creative industries is expected to include proposals for legislation forcing internet service providers (ISPs) into compliance with the punitive action.

Under proposals currently being considered repeated users of illegal peer-to-peer file-sharing websites would receive an emailed warning.

Persistent offenders would then be handed a suspension before finally receiving a permanent ban for the third and final punishment.

The Times quoted a draft copy of next week’s green paper saying: “We will move to legislate to require internet service providers to take action on illegal file-sharing.”

The green paper will also include plans for the creation of a new youth culture trust which will ensure children receive at least five hours’ culture a week, it adds.

A spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: “Early drafts of our creative economy programme document were circulated to stakeholders for comment.

“The content and proposals for the strategy have been significantly developed since then and a comprehensive plan to bolster the UK’s creative industries will be published shortly. We will not comment on the content of the leaked document.”

Internet piracy remains a pressing problem for entertainment industries, who have struggled in recent years to reach agreement on the best way to address the issue.

Specific strikes against major illegal distributors, like the OiNK.cd website which was closed by British and Dutch police last October, have made a difference but analysts say the central concern remains ordinary people sharing music for pleasure.