UK Government Opens Filesharing Consultation

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If you're one of the many incensed by the file-sharing letters issue, the OiNK raid and extensions or the ease with which UK politicians are led by the media industries like prize cattle, this could be your chance to get a say. The UK government has started a public consultation on file sharing, and how to deal with it.

Copyright is a hot-button topic in the UK right now. Between the proposed EU copyright extension and the anti-piracy agreement between the BPI and ISPs, it has been all over newspapers in the UK.

Many have condemned these actions, others have supported them. The depth of public feeling in this is great, as are the potential risks and rewards from these actions , both directly, and indirectly through function-creep and precedent.

The ISP/BPI deal has been characterized as being ‘forced” onto the ISPs by the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR). Now, in what could be a classic example of ‘closing the stable door after the horse has bolted’, the government has opened a public consultation on file-sharing.

The government wants to know from the public how it should deal with illicit file-sharing. Is it really that big of a threat to the entertainment industry? Should ISPs be obligated to police the Internet? Is it a good option to block P2P traffic, or install piracy filters? Answers to these and more questions will help to shape future anti-piracy legislation.

Perhaps most critically, the documentation does state that any proposals for government intervention should be “evidence based”. Queries to the BERR asking if claims cited as evidence need to be substantiated had not been returned at press time. Unlike many consultations, this is open to the public, so if you posted one of the 200+ comments we’ve had on this topic, perhaps submitting your thoughts to the BERR would be something to think about.

It is consultation season though, so if you’re more interested in television than file-sharing, there’s always the Public Consultation on Implementing the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive, which could impact how many British programs appear on our weekly Top10 lists.

The deadline for responses is October 30, 2008. For those that have yet to see the memorandum signed by the 6 ISPs, it’s included in annex D of the PDF.

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