Britain Mulls Turning 7 Million Into Download Criminals

A politician being touted as Britain's next Prime Minister has been persuaded to take action to criminalize 7 million citizens following intensive industry lobbying over file-sharing. Business Secretary Lord Mandelson is in favor of introducing tough laws including Internet restrictions and fines of up to £50,000 ($83,000).

The debate on how Britain should tackle illicit file-sharing is heating up. The government has already set an utterly unrealistic target of reducing online piracy by 70% within a year. If that isn’t achieved, under the Digital Britain proposals communications regulator Ofcom would be given extra powers to take degenerative action against the functionality of a user’s Internet connection.

Now, thanks to intense lobbying from the music and movie industries, the government is considering giving Ofcom these powers more quickly.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, the man being touted among his Labour party voters as the successor to Prime Minister Brown, is said this morning to have been “persuaded by the argument for tough laws to curb illegal file-sharing.”

But what could’ve prompted this renewed aggressive anti-piracy stance from Mandelson? According to a report today, the Business Secretary’s intervention comes after he and David Geffen – the billionaire producer who co-founded the DreamWorks studio with Steven Spielberg – had dinner with members of the Rothschild banking dynasty at the family’s holiday villa on the Greek island of Corfu.

The consultation document on Government’s latest plans – which could be included in the Queen’s Speech later this year – could mean the criminalizing up to 7 million British citizens including Internet restrictions and fines of up to £50,000.

UK Pirate Party leader Andrew Robinson is naturally against these draconian fines. “You’re branding a huge percentage of this population criminals for doing something that doesn’t have any proven implications,” he said this week. “It’s a ridiculous state of affairs. People who copy a movie are lumped in with people who steal cars.”

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