Mandelson dates "three strikes and you're out" policy for illegal downloaders

The government's plan to tackle illegal downloading has been unveiled today, with Lord Mandelson unveiling a "three strikes and you're out"

The government's plan to tackle illegal downloading has been unveiled today, with Lord Mandelson unveiling a "three strikes and you're out" policy.

Yes, it's the less exciting version of a pirate skirmish, with not a bedraggled Johnny Depp in sight.

Speaking at the government's digital creative industries conference, C&binet, Lord Mandelson confirmed that the previously touted idea of cutting the internet connections of persistent filesharers could go ahead from the summer of 2011.

It was stressed that such action would be a "last resort", and that it would only be enforced after two warning letters.

"It must become clear that the days of consequence-free widespread online infringement are over," Mandelson said. "Technical measures will be a last resort and I have no expectation of mass suspensions resulting."

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He added: "If we reach the point of suspension for an individual, they will be informed in advance, having previously received two notifications – and will have the opportunity to appeal.

"The British government's view is that taking people's work without due payment is wrong and that, as an economy based on creativity, we cannot sit back and do nothing as this happens."

Before it comes in to force, though, the effectiveness of letters threatening legal action alone will be monitored for the first 12 months by Ofcom. However if illegal filesharing has not decreased by 70% by April 2011, Mandelson has confirmed the connection cutting would begin within a few months.

Mandelson said: "The threat for persistent individuals is, and has to be, real, or no effective deterrent to breaking the law will be in place," adding that there would be a proper route of appeal for those who do get their accounts suspended.

We'll see all of this officially laid out in the government's digital economy bill, due at the end of November, but while we wait for that – we want to hear what you think.

Has Mandy got this right – will it deter illegal downloaders? Is there a better way? Should he don a ridiculous 18th-century wig and bring law back to the Spanish Main? Let us know what you think below.

Via: The Guardian