Pirates get to keep their ISP accounts...in the UK, anyway

It looks as though the UK won't cut off music pirates from the Internet after all, even though the global music industry is now promoting this form of punishment over fines and prison.

UK Culture Secretary Andy Burnham stated last year that the government had "serious legislative intent" to force ISPs to sever the Internet connections of music pirates. But in a recent interview with The Times of London, Intellectual Property Minister David Lammy said the UK government has now decided not to forge laws that would disconnect pirates.

Lammy voiced strong doubts that the UK would be able to untangle the complicated snarl of legal issues surrounding such a move. The Times conducted the interview with the IP minister prior to the release of a government report on digital industries, due out later this week.

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The BPI, a group representing the British record industry, has been hankering for ISPs to sign up for a "three-steps policy" which would disconnect repeat offenders as a last resort.

Earlier this month, the IFPI -- a group representing the international music recording industry -- mentioned the UK initiative along with a new system proposed in France as examples of the type of "graduated response" approach the industry is currently promoting.

"Seven in ten (72 percent) of UK music consumers would stop illegally downloading if told to do so by their ISP (Entertainment Media Research, 2008). Seven in ten (74 percent) French consumers agree Internet account disconnection is a better approach than fines and criminal sanctions," according to a statement released by the IFPI in conjunction with its report.

In December, "the US recording industry announced it was working with the Attorney General of New York State and leading ISPs on anti-piracy initiatives," said IFPI President and Chief Executive John Kennedy, in his introduction to the report.

Also in its report, the IFPI claimed that 95% of all music downloads are "unauthorized" -- meaning that no payment is made to either artists or producers.

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