Broadband users could pick up cost of copyright policing


Broadband users could pick up cost of copyright policing

Warwick Ashford

UK broadband consumers could have to pay more if the government acts on proposals to set up a copyright protection agency.

Communications minister Lord Carter has proposed a 'rights agency' to co-ordinate the fight against online copyright infringement.

>> See also: The Carter Review: Digital Britain

His interim Digital Britain report, published yesterday,suggests that funding for the new body should come from a levy on ISPs and the entertainment industry. But the ISP association, ISPA, has said it isconcerned that the increased financial burden on members will impact on the cost of broadband to consumers.

Last year, the government brokered an agreement by six UK ISPs to work with the entertainment industry and government to reduce illegal file-sharing.

The agreement led to ISPs sending warning letters to broadband users suspected of sharing music and film content illegally.

Lord Carter is proposinglegislation that will force ISPs to notify alleged infringers of digital content copyright that their conduct is unlawful.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at security firm Sophos said the challenge would be to identify who was really committing the crime.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to prove who exactly is sharing copyrighted material, he warned.

"ISPs and the authorities must tread very carefully not to damage goodwill by falsely accusing innocent parties," said Cluley.

ISPA welcomed the government's commitment to working in co-operation with industry to maximise the potential of the internet.

But Nicholas Lansman, ISPA secretary-general said the association would be meeting government to outline its views on issue in the report before publication of the full report later this year.

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