In just a few weeks the UK government will announce their new anti-piracy legislation that aims to put an end to most illegal file-sharing. The exact nature of the proposals are still unknown, but installing “speed bumps” for pirates is a good option according to the film industry.
The UK entertainment industries are desperate to stop piracy, but haven’t managed to make up their minds on how to tackle the problem. Instead, they simply throw some new ideas in the direction of the government, hoping that at least one will stick.
Just two weeks ago a coalition of several British “creative industries” called on the UK government to implement legislation that would make it possible to disconnect repeated copyright infringers. At the time they were convinced that the French model was the right way to go, but it appears they have already changed their minds.
The UK film industry – backed by some of the same organizations that previously called for the disconnection of pirates – now think this approach is too extreme. Instead, Internet service providers should slow down repeated offenders, in the hopes that this will stop their defiant behavior.
“We see the use of technological measures as similar to creating road humps – they will make potential copyright infringers pause and think twice,” Lavinia Carey, chair of Respect For Film said in a comment.
In addition, the movie industry group vaguely mentions the possibility for ISPs to block access to ‘pirates sites’ or at least warn their customers that they could end up in court if they continue to download copyright infringing content.
By itself, the speed bumps are an interesting approach to the ‘piracy’ problem, but we seriously doubt it will have much effect. A reduction in available bandwidth will surely annoy people previously used to downloading a lot of content, but will it also stop them from return to their old habits when the bumps are gone?
Or phrased in the speed bump analogy; will speed bumps on a road still have an effect on the behavior of drivers when they are removed? It might very well be that the restrictions are only effective when they are in play, which makes them useless as an anti-piracy tool.
Nevertheless, the UK government has committed itself to helping the entertainment industries tackle the piracy problem. In the words of David Lammy, Minister of State for Intellectual Property: “We know that the copyright industries in the UK are suffering huge losses due to illegal downloading.”
The use of the term ‘copyright industries’ by Lammy is telling. Meanwhile, Minister Lord Carter is tasked with making sense of all the industries’ piracy solutions. The legislation he comes up with will be announced on 16 June.