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Gov't could slow illegal downloaders' web access

Three-strikes rule is not the 'preferred' deterrent

The government is unlikely to back the implementation of a 'three strikes' rule that would see illegal file sharers cut off from the internet, it has been revealed.

The Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property (SABIP) recently revealed that around 7 million Brits are using a file-sharing network once a week to illegally download music files. The problem has become so big that the government plans to set out guidelines on how to tackle the issue in its Digital Britain report, due to be published on June 16.

It had been widely thought the three strikes rule would be suggested by the report as the most obvious solution. However Culture Secretary Andy Burnham said this was not the government's "preferred option".

Instead, Burnham told a music industry conference this week that "technical solutions" would be used to prevent music and film being pirated on the web.

Although Burnham didn't detail exactly what solutions would be used, he said they would "limit or restrict" file-sharing activity. It is though that this will involve slowing the broadband access speed of repeat offenders.

Mar Mulligan, vice president at Forrester Research, told the BBC the solution was easy to implement.

"We know that ISPs currently use a mix of technical solutions to manage traffic at peak times. The ISPs already have the technical infrastructure to implement this kind of stuff."

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