U.K. film, TV industries laud ISP crackdown

Internet service providers pact to deter piracy

LONDON -- Reps from the U.K. film and television industries welcomed Thursday's government-backed agreement between rights-holders and Internet service providers to issue warnings to people sharing files illegally online.

The pact means ISPs such as British Telecom, BSkyB, Virgin Media and Tiscali have drawn up plans to fight online piracy by issuing "education notices" to people sharing content illegally. They will be referred to legitimate outlets for movies, television shows or music. Repeat offenders will be dealt with harshly.

"Film distributors are excited by the multitude of opportunities presented by digital technology, but it is essential that the respect for intellectual property is not lost along the way," Film Distributors' Assn. CEO Mark Batey said.

British Video Assn. director general Lavinia Carey said, "The BVA sees the progress made towards negotiated cooperation between content providers and ISPs as a genuine step forward towards a mutually beneficial solution to ensure the public can receive good quality, good value and reliable access to our members' works."

John Woodward, U.K. Film Council CEO said the agreement marks "a significant step forward. For the first time, the creative industries, ISPs and government have come together to tackle the growing problem of illegal file-sharing."