UK government tells ISPs not to disconnect music pirates

Illegal music downloaders will not be cut off from the internet

The UK government has aborted plans to bring in new legislation forcing internet service providers (ISPs) to ban users found guilty of downloading music illegally.

David Lammy, the Intellectual Property Minister, said that the plans had been scrapped because the legal issues involved were too complex.

Lammy, who was speaking to The Times ahead of the publication of a report on the future of Britain’s digital industries, admitted the music industry and ISPs have yet to agree on how best to deal with online music piracy.

The MP also said that illegal downloaders should not be arrested.

“We can’t have a system where we’re talking about arresting teenagers in their bedrooms,” Lammy explained. “People can rent a room in a hotel and leave with a bar of soap – there’s a big difference between leaving with a bar of soap and leaving with the television.”

However, an unnamed senior music figure poured scorn on Lammy‘s comments, saying: “The relative cost of stealing a bar of soap from an hotel might be small, but if it came to seven million people nicking the soap each year, which is what we have in the music industry, I’m sure that hotel chain would do something about it.”

One of the major ISPs, British Telecom, said they welcomed the news.

A statemment read: “We’re still hopeful that an amicable solution, without the need for legislation, can be reached. It doesn’t make sense to try to get people online and at the same time scare them away.”