U.K. gets ready for piracy fight

Government looks to partner with U.S.

The U.K. government wants to cooperate with the U.S. to curb illegal downloads of music, films and TV shows.

In a press confab with media scribes, Media Minister Andy Burnham said, “It’s my aim that we develop an international consensus on illegal downloading.

“We particularly want to involve the U.S. administration and achieve a shared understanding and agreement about how to best tackle these issues in the next five years.”

But the media minister ruled out criminal sanctions for people who download content for free.

“I don’t want to criminalize young people who have just got used to enjoying music in new ways,” he said.

However, he suggested that new rules likely to affect Internet service providers are being planned to protect and secure the future of creative industries.

“We need to have a regulatory underpinning, and that will require legislation,” said Burnham. “Our preferred approach is to encourage legal behavior.”

Burnham was speaking as the finishing touches are made to the Digital Britain report, due to be published June 16 and masterminded by Communications Minister Stephen Carter.

Both Burnham and Carter believe that a thriving creative sector, based on universal access to high-speed broadband, is vital to help revive the recession-bound British economy.

The media minister also hinted that Digital Britain will greenlight a collaboration between BBC Worldwide, the pubcaster’s commercial arm, and Channel 4, whose request for any other kind of public subsidy is certain to be rejected in the final report.