The government has responded to a petition from broadband provider TalkTalk calling for proposals within the Digital Economy Act that would see illegal file sharers forcibly disconnected from the internet to be scrapped.
The government appears to agree that this is an undesirable state of affairs: “It is clear that online copyright infringement inflicts considerable damage on the UK’s creative economy including music, TV and film, games, sports and software," it said in a statement. Industry estimates place this harm at £400m per annum.
"The Digital Economy Act includes a number of measures to tackle the problem and we expect these to be successful in significantly reducing online copyright infringement.
"The Act includes a reserve power to introduce further “technical” measures if the initial measures do not succeed. These technical measures would limit or restrict an infringers’ access to the internet. They do not include disconnection,” it added.
In the petition, TalkTalk argued that the act of cutting off internet access would force illegal file sharers to hack into other people's Wi-Fi networks, potentially resulting in innocent people being disconnected from their broadband.
It is likely then that instead of disconnection, ISPs will be forced to use other measures such as slowing down a guilty party’s broadband speed.
The petition was submitted in June and gained more than 35,000 signatures.