Tuesday, February 12, 2008

U.K. Downloaders Could Face "Three Strikes" Law

Three strikes and you're out (of downloads)? France already has a similar law in the works, and the U.K. is apparently planning to follow, if legislation to be introduced next week comes to pass.

The French law, which "should be" passed by the summer, would involve sending warning emails to the IP addresses those detected illegally downloading. After three such instances, the ISP would be required to cut service.

According to a leaked document obtained by The Times, the UK plans a similar system, except that on the second offense a temporary suspension of broadband services would occur.

This follows the expiration of the year the U.K. government had given the music, film industries and ISPs - a year to come to a voluntary agreement over how to tackle illegal file sharing. No agreement by the end of 2007, hence the government is helping to push the matter along.

It should be noted that if and when this law moves through the stages of passage, it's possible that changes may occur. Maybe they'll just filter at the ISP instead! Ugh.

I also wonder what they'll do about wi-fi piggybacking; I can see a local coffee shop inundated by P2P downloaders Photobucket (yes, yes, they could block that). Or maybe someone leaves his home wireless LAN with no encryption ... hey, maybe that's a good reason to do that, to use as an excuse! Naaaaaaah.

Guesses on how long before this gets proposed in the U.S.? Anyone want to start a pool?

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