UK backs down on three strikes - will sanity prevail here?

By Pat Pilcher

As New Zealand edges closer to enforcing the controversial section 92 of the Copyright Amendment (New Technologies) act, the UK government has decided not to support a policy aimed at policing British digital copyright infringers.

Citing the impracticalities and complexities associated administering with a three strike policy, the UK Minister of Intellectual Property, David Lammy has been quoted by the BBC and in The Times as saying that the British government is no longer interested in making ISPs police file-sharing or disconnecting users as part of a three strike policy, similar to the laws soon to be imposed in New Zealand.

In the UK there has also been considerable opposition to the policy which has been portrayed by opponents as being heavy handed, complicated, costly and ineffectual.

Increasingly wary of public fallout likely to result from any implementation of a three strikes law, the UK government has decided to focus on more pressing issues to such as the UK's faltering economy.

Whilst the UK music industry is said to be dismayed, British ISPs, who had like their New Zealand counterparts were largely opposed three strike laws, are now heaving a sigh of relief.

Like the New Zealand laws soon to come into play, UK ISPs were to be forced to incur the costs of policing the data flowing across their networks as well as the spectre of having to disconnect repeat copyright infringing customers.

The UK government's back-down also calls the move by the National government further into question. If the government and ISP's of one of the world's strongest economies were struggling to enforce similar laws to the proposed Section 92, it is likely that smaller New Zealand ISPs will be even more hard pressed to make the proposed laws workable.


Pat Pilcher works for Telecom but does not represent their views

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