UK ISP’s don’t have to disconnect pirates

The British government has ruled out legislation that would force Internet Service Providers to ban illicit file sharers.

Intellectual Property Minister David Lammy told the Times that complex legal issues preclude any such legislation. "I’m not sure it’s actually going to be possible," he said.

An estimated 7 million Internet users in Britain share music files illegally, and the BPI, which represents the music industry, says peer to peer sharing costs its members £180 million per year. There are signs that ISP’s and the BPI are working together; they’ve created several working groups to draw up solutions and service providers have pledged to send 1,000 letters a week to illegal file sharers.

Lammy said he hoped this cooperation would prevent "the heavy hand of legislation."

The situation in Britain resembles the Recording Industry Association of America’s efforts to fight piracy, as the U.S. industry trade group recently said it will stop suing individual file sharers. Just as the BPI wants service providers to enforce a "three-steps policy," the RIAA is looking to iron out a program with US based ISP’s in which repeat offenders could lose their Internet access.

In addition, the RIAA has ruled out ISP filtering of copyrighted material coming through various peer to peer networks. For now, the service providers will simply pass along a letter of detection to illicit file sharers, not unlike the agreement to send letters in Britain.

Both countries are still working on a way to stop illegal file sharing in a manner that satisfies all parties involved. Cara Duckworth, an RIAA spokeswoman, told CDFreaks today that there are no official updates on any new anti-piracy measures.