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Japanese ISPs form anti-piracy alliance.

The Federation Against Software Theft : 20 March, 2008  (Company News)
Japan's major Internet Service Providers are joining forces in an anti-piracy alliance to terminate the contracts of users who are repeatedly engaging in piracy.
The Japanese move will strengthen the UK Government's resolve to defend Britain's creative industries.

The Federation Against Software Theft (The Federation) has applauded the announcement made by the Telecom Service Association and the Telecommunications Carriers Association of Japan who will, from April 2008, take joint action against repeated offenders.

John Lovelock, Chief Executive of The Federation, said: "This is historic. Nowhere in the world have ISPs joined forces in a voluntary manner to combat piracy. Here in the UK we have been calling on the industry for some time now to draw up a voluntary code of conduct before the Government itself steps in and legislates. What is happening in Japan has to be seen in this context. We should be following its example."

According to reports in Japan, the ISPs will come up with their procedures in cooperation with copyright organisations, including the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers as well as the Association of Copyright of Computer Software with which The Federation has relations.

Under the provisional terms of the agreement the most likely course of action will be to send pirates a notice that they have infringed copyright, then bring in a period of suspension if they break the law again. The final sanction would be a termination of contract.

"We warned in October of last year that unless the ISPs themselves took voluntary action against the file sharers the Government would step in and force them," said Lovelock.

"As an enforcement body, The Federation welcomes the fact that the UK Government is now willing to take IP theft more seriously. However, we also recognise that Government regulation should be a last resort and ISPs would reap the benefits of taking matters into their own hands, just as they have in Japan."

The Federation argued in November 2007, whilst accepting there may be technical challenged to monitor, ISPs can do the following:

* Close accounts where advised by rights holders, or representative bodies such as The Federation, of evidence of illegal activity.

* Compile a register on customers investigated by rights holders or representative bodies where illegal activity found.

* Provide customer details to rights holders or their representative bodies where it can be demonstrated that illegal activity has been conducted, instead of compelling them to take court action.

"It is entirely within the power of the ISPs to draw up a revised contract of acceptable use for all of their customers, reserving the necessary rights including a provision to compile for a blacklist and for that information to be shared among ISPs. We know that the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) has always maintained that it cannot be held responsible for illegal peer-to-peer traffic because it is 'merely a conduit' of such material," said Lovelock.

But Lovelock believes if it comes to protecting themselves from financial loss, they'll soon find a way.

"It is a simple choice really. Either the ISPs come up with a workable strategy for self-regulation or face the inevitable inconvenience and cost to the business of legislation," Lovelock said.
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