Simon Cowell urges tougher anti-piracy laws

Mogul joins other creatives aiming for 'three-strikes' rule

LONDON -- Pop mogul Simon Cowell, Working Title co-chair Tim Bevan and "United 93" director Paul Greengrass have urged the British parliament to bring in tougher anti-piracy measures, including a "three-strikes" rule that will cut off persistent illegal downloaders.

In a letter to Members of Parliament also signed by author Terry Pratchett and "Spooks" creator and Kudos head Stephen Garrett, the five creatives urge the government not to back down on a tough stance against illegal downloading and support the digital economy bill currently passing through Parliament.

"Digital entertainment services are really beginning to take off," the letter says, "but for these new business models to develop, it is critical that more is done to prevent the illegal services providing easy access to free content."

The proposals have been fought by Internet service providers including Virgin Media and Carphone Warehouse, who are reluctant to cut off their own subscribers.

In addition, the bill could face oblivion if the Labour government loses the next general election, which must be held by June.