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EU votes against punishing illegal file-sharers

Internet ban would infringe human rights

The European Parliament is not backing plans to ban illegal file-sharers from the internet.

The plans suggested ISPs should monitor customers and implement a 'three strikes' rule that would see offenders issued with written warnings and even possible suspension if they continue to download pirate software.

However MEPs backed an amendment to the report, which claimed banning web users conflicted with "civil liberties and human rights".

"The vote shows that MEPs want to strike a balance between the interests of rights holders and those of consumers, and that big measures like cutting off internet access shouldn't be used," a European Parliament spokeswoman told the BBC after the vote.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents Europe's music industry, said the amendment was "badly drafted" and contradicted the rest of the report.

"We look forward to a full discussion in the European Parliament in the coming months on how best to address copyright theft online," said the IFPI.

The vote has no legal force and leaves national governments free to implement their own antipiracy plans, which will do nothing to resolve the stand-off between music trade body the BPI and British ISPs who do not want to implement the 'three strikes' rule.

See also:

TalkTalk faces legal action over illegal file-sharers here.

TalkTalk refuses to shop illegal downloaders

Virgin Media targets illegal music file-sharers


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