In Britain, House of Commons Passes Bill to Curb Digital Piracy

The House of Commons has passed a bill to curb digital piracy, according to an April 8 report in the London daily, The Telegraph.

The bill allows for the suspension of Internet connections for repeat file-sharing offenders, and would allow for the blocking of sites that a court concludes "has been, is being or is likely to be used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright," according to The Telegraph's Emma Barnett.

Some U.S. ISPs have what has been tabbed a "three-strike" policy, giving several warnings, then terminating accounts for repeat illegal file sharing.

Studios in the U.S., who are all for efforts to crack down on infringing sites and pirates on this side of the Big Pond, have been supportive of the bill and following its the progress through Parliament. The bill must now go back to the House of Lords, which one studio source said is expected to be essentially a pro forma stamp of approval.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association, whose members include Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, said it was troubled by the bill. "The Computer & Communications Industry Association strongly supports traditional copyright law, but is deeply concerned about the nature of this new law that puts profits of big movie and music producers above the rights to due process of Internet users," the group said in a statement.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.