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News

Illegal file downloaders unaffected by threats of prosecution

The Federation Against Software Theft : 15 June, 2009  (Technical Article)
FAST IiS research indicates that those who download illegal files from sharing sites are undeterred by official warnings not to do so
Over two thirds of those who illegally download content from file-sharing sites won't stop even if asked by letter to do so, according to a new survey by media lawyers, Wiggin, prompting new calls from FAST IiS for the government to take action.

FAST IiS Chief Executive John Lovelock stated: "This is the second year Wiggin has conducted this research and what is noticeable is that those who claim they would not stop has in fact more than doubled, up from 30% to 67%. This will be worrying news to all software developers, most of whom in the UK are smaller businesses, along with all the hundreds of thousands of people employed in music, film, TV and publishing."

However the report also found that if action was taken following an initial letter, such as cutting off Internet access, then 80% would stop immediately.

"Here is proof, if proof were needed, that a realistic deterrent will only deliver the impact needed. There must be a fear factor together with a significant likelihood of being caught. Over the past two weeks we have seen government minister flag up ideas like reducing the speed of broadband. What a waste of time and a technical absurdity otherwise, technology will more than likely, progress to neatly side step such barriers," added John.

The survey, published by media lawyers Wiggin, comes before the government publishes its Digital Britain report outlining their take on the future of the digital industries and digital culture in the UK. Andy Burnham, former Culture Secretary, told a conference last month that the Government would implement 'technical measures' to beat filesharers.

FAST IiS contend that the only credible measure that will be respected by persistent online digital thieves is for the Government to introduce the recommendations from the Gowers Review. Published in 2006, this government sponsored independent review of intellectual property made the suggestion that offences in the digital world should be punished in the same way as crimes in the physical world with the same sentences.

Lovelock continues, "These thieves are stealing the livelihood of two million UK workers who contribute eight per cent of our GDP. In a time of rising unemployment and massive government debt it seems crazy that digital thieves are let off with lighter punishments and wishy-washy talk of restricting their broadband speed. Let's show the offending element that he Government means business, and support our creative industries like other nations do with theirs."
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