Government to tackle illegal downloaders through Digital Britain report

Plus all radio stations are to turn digital by 2015

A new Govenrment report, Digital Britain, has outlined new plans to tackle illegal downloaders today (June 16).

Proposals have been drawn up in the report to curb unlawful peer to peer file-sharing with regulator Ofcom. The body will be given new powers which include notifying offenders of their wrongdoing by letter while serial offenders will face a court-based civil action.

The Government is also set to provide measures which will result in bandwidth reduction or protocol blocking for repeat offenders.

The report outlined that “the civil infringement of taking someone else’s intellectual property or passing it on to others through file-sharing without any compensating payment is, in plain English, wrong”.

The report aims to provide a framework that encourages the growth of legal markets for downloading that is inexpensive, convenient and easily accessible for consumers.

Despite the new measures, the heads of some online music sites said they did not go far enough to curb illegal downloading.

Steve Purdham CEO of website We7, which streams albums online legally, said: “The Digital Britain report had the opportunity to set an outstanding aspirational agenda and create a memorable turning point in the UK’s digital evolution, but sadly falls short of giving the real focus for significantly enhancing Britain’s competitiveness in the future.

“Music and other high value content need two things – a strong deterrent and framework to protect the value and investment from piracy so that we can continue to produce world class music in the future – and secondly high profile education to guide people to legal services.

“The report missed the opportunity to provide the true pathway to protecting our creative industries from illicit file-sharing.”

Culture secretary Ben Bradshaw told Parliament this afternoon (June 16) that the Government also intended to upgrade all national radio stations from analogue to digital by 2015.

Digital Britain was launched by Lord Carter, the minister for communications, technology and broadcasting in October 2008 to establish a framework for the UK’s digital economy. Eight months of lobbying and consultation followed with a final report unveiled today.

Digital Britain is a joint effort between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.