ISPs could become the web police

A British scheme that requires internet service providers to warn users if they download information in breach of copyright laws could be taken up in Australia if local television and movie studios have their way.

A British scheme that requires internet service providers to warn users if they download information in breach of copyright laws could be taken up in Australia if local television and movie studios have their way.

Under a memorandum of understanding between the six largest British ISPs, movie and TV studios there, and the British Government, ISPs have agreed to warn customers if they use their broadband to illegally download content.

The benefit, for the ISPs and their users, is that the movie and TV studios have in return agreed that they will only seek to prosecute people for breaching of copyright laws if they persist in illegal activity after they have been warned.

According to The Age, the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft, which represents TV and film content producers here, thinks the idea could work in Australia.

“The vast majority of people who are file-sharing on the internet do not know it’s illegal, or don’t know it’s hurting anyone,” AFACT executive director Adrianne Pecotic says.

“If nine out of 10 people who are illegally file-sharing now are going to respond to a notice and stop, then there’s no need for enforcement — it’s educational and it’s effective.”

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