U.K. Cracking Down On Illegal Music Downloaders

The British government is proposing new sanctions against repeat offenders who illegally obtain music from file-sharing sites.

Proposals include requiring ISPs to take action against individuals by blocking access to download sites, reducing their broadband bandwidth or suspending their Internet account, according to Reuters.

Any measures likely could not take effect until 2012 because certain technical criteria would have to be put in place first, Ofcom, an independent media regulating agency, told Reuters.

"The government has now reached the view that, if action was deemed necessary, this might be too long to wait given the pressure put on the creative industries by piracy," Ofcom said in a statement. "The new ideas outlined today would potentially allow action to be taken earlier."

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The Internet Service Providers' Association told BBC News that it was disappointed by the proposal to force ISPs to suspend users' accounts, noting that file sharing in and of itself is not illegal.

"ISPA and consumer groups consider disconnection of users to be a disproportionate response, a view that was recently supported by the European Parliament," the organization said in a statement.

The crackdown would also be aimed at repeat and regular offenders who use technologies and sites such as BitTorrent and The Pirate Bay to download copyrighted files, according to the BBC.