Three Strikes

The Times this morning is leading with a story that the UK Government is to propose banning UK net users who download illegal material. It looks like under the scheme the ISP will be responsible for identifying and banning users using a three strikes and your out principal. Caught once and you get a warning. Caught a second time and your temporarily banned. Caught a third time and your banned by that service provider. What the article doesn’t discuss is whether the ban would apply to all service providers or whether your banning would be passed among other ISP’s.

This is a pretty tough stance and at the moment I don’t know what to think of it. How will the ISP’s identify users? What about falsely accusing a user? Will there be a way of appealing a ban? Will we create a large number of users who won’t be able to use broadband in the UK due to bans? How much information is currently being tracked and how much is readily available to government now? Will media companies make content available at more reasonable prices i.e. at least the same as US is paying? Will the hardcore pirates always be one step ahead of ISP’s so making the system redundant apart from stopping the casual downloaders?

If this does become law and the system is reliable (big if’s at the moment for me) then there’s at least one positive. Broadband speeds will be a lot more reliable and the high end speeds will be dropped by a high percentage of users. Still can’t see this becoming law, or at least one that’s reliably enforceable any time soon.

3 Comments

  1. I watched an interesting documentary the other day which dealt with among other things, the history of intellectual property. ‘Steal This Film’ it was called, and by coincidence it was mentioned on the Today programme on Radio 4 the other morning, when they had an item about torrents and new media distribution models.

    This particular proposal is a Green Paper and I can’t see it even getting to White, nevermind framed in a statute. Would it even be effective by the time it does? In my mind its not an immediate priority; cracking down on terrorist chat-rooms and nonse websites should be at the forefront of legislators minds. This is a total non-story. Slow news days methinks.

  2. After a bit of thought I agree. Also the notion that ISP’s turn into policeman – so why are couriers, Royal Mail, BT etc not asked to do the same role.

  3. See this non-story resurfaced (again) as the lead item on XFM’s radio news tonight. Sigh.

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