Illegal downloaders to receive notices

The British film and music industries celebrated a victory against online piracy Thursday after the government brokered a deal between rights holders and Internet service providers to help slash illegal file-sharing.

The agreement commits ISPs and rights holders to work together to send out education notices to those who illegally share content online. Consumers will be told about legitimate alternatives, and the ISPs and copyright owners will develop strategies to deal with repeat offenders.

The music and film sectors also will partner with the Internet gatekeepers to examine technological solutions, such as content filtering, to help cut online intellectual property theft.

In addition to financially harming the creative industries, illegal file-sharers consume very large amounts of bandwidth, which hits ISPs’ businesses. Government officials used that problem as leverage in persuading the parties to cooperate.

“Today’s announcement, and the closer dialogue heralded with ISPs, is greatly welcomed,” said Mark Batey, CEO of the Film Distributors’ Assn. “Film distributors are excited by the multitude of opportunities presented by digital technology, but it is essential that the respect for intellectual property is not lost along the way.”

Geoff Taylor, CEO of record industry trade body the BPI, said: “Government has played an important role in bringing all parties together to arrive at this point, but the work really begins now.

“The music business is constantly innovating to offer new, safe and legal ways to enjoy music online, and to create a future for digital music where creativity and copyright are respected. This (agreement) will help to create an environment in which such new digital services models can flourish.”

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