Story : http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/feb/21/piracy.digitalmusic
Imagine a country hosting the Olympic Games where internet content is routinely monitored for material that irks the powerful; material that must be stopped, and whose recipients must suffer the force of the law. China, this year? Yes; but also, perhaps, Britain in 2012. That is, if some parts of a strategy paper - emphatically not a Green Paper, as those map out the path to legislation - to be published jointly tomorrow by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR) are implemented.
The part that has drawn the most attention is the government's threat - which is understood to be repeated in the document - that if internet service providers (ISPs) and "content producers" cannot agree how to regulate and control illicit downloading of copyrighted content by Britons, then ministers create new legislation that will force ISPs to police what passes through their systems.
The announcement marks a victory for the record industry in Britain, which has struggled for years to find a response to the explosion in illegal downloading since the first peer-to-peer filesharing program, Napster, appeared in 1999. It has tried lawsuits against filesharers; though it won every one of the dozens of cases brought, piracy has continued to grow. The 2007 Digital Music Survey by Olswang, which interviewed 1,700 people, found that in 2007, 43% of respondents had carried out "unauthorised downloading" - compared to 36% in 2006, but 40% in 2005. Possibly the new broadband users in 2006 hadn't figured out file-sharing systems; but they have now. The survey also found in 2007 that 18% of those asked said they'd do it more often in the future: only one-third cited fears of prosecution as a reason for downloading less.
Now, the music industry has used its lobbying muscle with the government - which is always happy with an industry that employs thousands and generates millions of pounds in taxable revenue - to force ISPs to sit down and create a new framework to choke downloading.