Think tank claims Lord Mandelson's proposal won't help problem

The UK government’s plan to push through legislation to allow the internet connections of persistent illegal downloaders to be severed “will not help” the music industry, according to a think tank.

New research by Demos found that people who illegally download music spend more on legitimate music than those who don’t.

Researcher Peter Bradwell said that the figures suggested that the Government’s plan, spearheaded by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, would not help the situation.

The research found that people in the UK who illegally download music spent an average of £77 a year on music compared to £44 for those who don’t. Bradwell said that this suggested that cutting off such users’ connections would harm the music industry.

“The latest approach from the Government will not help prop up an ailing music industry,” he told the Independent. “Politicians and music companies need to recognise that the nature of music consumption has changed, and consumers are demanding lower prices and easier access.”

However, 61 per cent of those surveyed for the research said they would be put off illegally downloading if they received letters threatening to cut off their connections – as proposed by the government.

Mandelson is aiming to push through legislation that would see the powers to cut connections introduced if illegal downloading isn’t reduced in the UK by 70 per cent by April 2011.

The Featured Artists Coalition, which includes members of Radiohead, Blur and Keane, are pushing for a three strikes policy – but propose reducing internet speed rather than severing connections.

Blog – Why the government’s file-sharing crackdown won’t work.