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U.K. to get tough on pirates

Users could lose Internet access

U.K. consumers who illegally download music and movies could find their Internet connections severed under legislation that will be presented to the British parliament next week.

According to unconfirmed reports, the legislation would legally oblige Internet service providers to issue a warning email to pirates for the first offense, suspend offenders’ contracts for a second infringement and terminate the contract if caught a third time.

ISPs that do not comply could be prosecuted and would be forced to make the details of suspected offenders available to the courts.

The legislation would affect an estimated 6 million Internet users in the U.K., but could save the film and music industries billions of pounds in lost revenues.

According to the Times newspaper, the U.K.’s biggest Internet providers — BT, Tiscali, Orange and Virgin Media — have been in talks with the Hollywood studios for six months for a voluntary scheme. The U.K. music industry has been in talks with the ISPs for a couple of years.

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