Downloaders not to be cut off after all - but Culture Minister won't be there to see it (not) happen

The BBC reports that, contrary to previous expectations, the Digital Britain report, due out on 16 June, will not call for serial downloaders to lose their broadband access under a 'three strikes and you're out' scheme. Instead, it will propose that the speed of their connections is slowed down. The (soon to be ex) Culture Minister, Andy Burnham said at yesterday's Music Week's Making Online Music Pay conference that the Government preferred to take 'technical measures' against downloaders, rather than cutting down their access. A spokesman later clarified:
"It is likely to include an obligation on ISPs to send out letters to people who are infringing copyright...What Mr Burnham also said was there was the likelihood that the MoU would be backed up by new powers for Ofcom to impose 'technical solutions' for repeat offenders if that process of sending out letters was not effective enough".
However, Andy Burnham is Culture Minister no longer, with Ben Bradshaw stepping into the role (also on the move is John Denham, the Secretary of State for the Department of Innovation, University and Skills, the parent department for IP matters).

The IPKat favours the move. Broadband access is increasing required to access goods and services and completely severing peoples' connections would seem rather too punitive. If the technical solution works, it could be a nice compromise. However, the timing of the launch of the report seems rather poor, with the new Minister being in the post for something like a week and a half.
Downloaders not to be cut off after all - but Culture Minister won't be there to see it (not) happen Downloaders not to be cut off after all - but Culture Minister won't be there to see it (not) happen Reviewed by Anonymous on Friday, June 05, 2009 Rating: 5


  1. I reckon that cutting down internet access although, is a harsh measure but it would have a deterrant effect since people would think twice befor they indulge in illegal downloading. Slowing down of speed or imposing technical solutions, to my mind would not be a deterrant to many and additionally, geeks would find their way out to trump the technical measures. Its something akin to 'spare the rod and spoil the child'. For long the music industry has been suffering losses and its time stiff resistance is put up to illegal downloading!!

  2. Dear IP-Kat,Tufty and Merpel:

    I beg to disagree. See:

    Best regards from Canada,

    Howard Knopf

  3. So if I purchase a dodgy DVD from the back of a lorry, then I can expect that vehicle to have a different speed limit?

  4. It seems like we are comparing apples to oranges!! My firm belief is that perseverant illegal downloaders would not be dissuaded much by speed governors. If anything, they might be frustrated but will not be deterred since they would earn the fruits of their labour FREE!!

  5. Let's get this straight, here, the Government report said nothing about reducing "speed limits". All that's been said (by some researcher) is that this could be a technically feasible thing to do.

    Typically of the government (any government) there's no real meat behind the idea yet, so I think it's a bit unfair to be criticising them for planning to do something when there's been no suggestion that that's what they're planning to do. These reactions seems to be akin to complaining that the government is going to reintroduce the death penalty on the back of a report saying that they wanted to get tough on crime.

    Having said that, feel free to crticise them for being wooly and not giving any real solutions except "oooh... we're going to write letters... ooooh... scary!".


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