Responding to the UK government's plans on filesharing

Updated August 25 and August 27

The British government's policy proposals could affect up to six million people.

They want ISPs (the people who manage your broadband connection) to monitor your internet traffic and send you 'warning letters' if you are sharing files.

Details of who has been sent a letter will be made available to big corporations, who can then use it in court to sue you. And if you keep sharing files, you could be banned from having an internet connection.

For many reasons, this seems like a bad idea. Labour MP Tom Watson has set out some of the broader objections and concerns in a post on his blog.

The plans would create an intrusive and expensive new system to enforce copyright laws which are already perfectly enforceable in the civil courts for anyone who has evidence of illegal activity.

There are also numerous unanswered questions about how 'guilt' would be assigned for people who have shared wi-fi connections or have viruses or other software running on their computer of which they are not aware.

Before the government can introduce the legislation, it is required to hold a public consultation on the ideas and how they would be implemented.

This consultation is currently underway - and any responses to the consulation must be received by the government by September 29, 2009.

As many people as possible should send their views on the proposals to the government, so that ministers can see what concerns there are and how many people share them.

With an election due by June 2010, this may cause them to think again about alienating voters.

Details of the government's proposals and the issues they are consulting on have been published. The government's original plans were also changed mid-way through the consultation to make them even harder on internet users.

These official documents are often complicated, which means only large companies and organisations tend to respond - the public's views can easily be ignored.

To make it easier for all of us to respond, this webpage lists all the questions and issues which the government is consulting on and, where relevant, gives some suggested responses setting out some concerns about the proposals.

If you agree with the suggested responses, please feel free to copy them and send your responses to the officials who are dealing with them.

A response can be submitted by...

Letter:

Michael Klym/Adrian Brazier
Communications & Content Industries
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
UG28-30
1 Victoria Street
London SW1H 0ET

Fax:
020 7215 5442

Email:
mike.klym@bis.gsi.gov.uk or adrian.brazier@bis.gsi.gov.uk


This website is set up in the 'wiki' format so that others can add further ideas about why the government's proposals are wrong.

You can return to this page by using the navigation in the left-column of the website and clicking on 'About this website'.