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News

Digital Economy Bill brings action against illegal file sharing

The Federation Against Software Theft : 19 November, 2009  (Technical Article)
The Federation Against Software Theft applauds the move by the British Government to bring tougher actions against illegal file sharing activities
Tough new laws aimed at curbing the epidemic of illegal filesharing which have been unveiled in the Queens Speech today have been broadly welcomed by FAST.

The Digital Economy Bill, the direct result of the Digital Britain Report announced in early 2009 sets out the Government's ambition to secure the UK's position as one of the world's leading digital knowledge economies .

John Lovelock, Chief Executive, FAST, stated: "This is the culmination of years of work by many in the creative industries. FAST has lobbied long and hard for a sensible change to the law that maintains a level playing field for the legitimate user."

According to the Government the Bill will be "creating a robust legal and regulatory framework to combat illegal file sharing and other forms of online copyright infringement and give Ofcom a specific new responsibility to significantly reduce this practice, including two specific obligations on Internet Service Providers: the notification of unlawful activity and, for alleged serial-infringers, collation of data to allow rights holders to obtain court orders to force the release of personal details, enabling legal action to be taken against them."

John Lovelock added: "This is a step further than Lord Carters' Digital Britain Report that recommended merely "technical measures" to slow the connection speed of persistent infringers,"

Lovelock continued: "The Digital Britain work is set to go on until 2012, so it is heartening that the government has decided to look into practical solutions that will offer help to some of the most vibrant sectors in the UK economy: software publishers, games developers, music, films etc. The whole of the creative industries contribute £53 billion to the UK economy through their IP investments. Having the power to cut off serious infringers' access to the Internet, provided the evidence is there, would take away their ability to access and distribute content they have no right to in the first place. Tough action is required to tackle hardened content thieves.

"People see software piracy as a victimless crime, but it robs organisations of their legitimate revenue to invest in new products, employees of their livelihood, and the government of taxable income from sales which all UK citizens benefit from eventually. What is rarely mentioned in the digital content debate is that 27 per cent of the software used in UK businesses is illegal which equates to £1.3 billion loss per annum to the software industry alone - more than the losses to the film and music industries combined."

Eight per cent of the UK gross domestic product is down to IP, and 1.9 million people are employed in the UK's creative industries, and this country needs all the industries functioning for all our benefit.
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