Legislation is one of several wide-ranging proposals in Intellectual Property Office's action plan to increase investment, innovation and quality in UK's digital landscape.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs permit users to share digital information such as music and video files without a central server acting as a 'middleman' to manage the network. Frequently the digital information shared violates copyright, and copyright holders are turning to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to prevent infringement of their copyright.
In the past year Danish, Swedish and Italian courts have all ordered ISPs to restrict access to P2P access by deeming them to be "assisting customers in copyright infringement." Users argue that wholesale blocking of P2P websites means consumers are losing out on the use of a valuable technology that is also used to share legal content. The Digital Britain Interim Report seeks to put the regulation of P2P in the hands of the legislators, rather than the courts.
The proposed legislation, set out in the Report, would require ISPs to notify alleged infringers and collect personal information on serious repeat infringers. Copyright holders would be able to obtain this information with a court order. The proposed legislation is part of a larger discussion between lawmakers, content creators, distributors, ISPs and users on whether a Digital Rights Agency should be created in the UK as an independent body responsible for copyright education and enforcement online.