The Business secretary, Lord Mandelson, has apparently personally intervened to include an amendment to the Digital Britain report that would force ISPs to disconnect UK customers who share illegal content online.
The announcement comes a few days after Lord Mandelson met record company owner David Geffen in Corfu while on holidays; a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills vehemently rejected the claims.
Initially, the Digital Britain report provided Ofcom with a three year period before considering whether it should work with ISPs to catch those guilty of illegally sharing files.
But in a surprising press statement issued this morning, the Minister for Digital Britain, Stephen Timms (who replaced Lord Carter) said: "We’ve been listening carefully to responses to the consultation this far, and it’s become clear there are widespread concerns that the plans as they stand could delay action, impacting unfairly upon rights holders."
It is not clear whose responses Mr Timms was referring to but many, including ISPs, are considering that right holders are getting a preferential treatment.
More importantly, the responses that this latest governmental move have generated overwhelmingly point to a concensus; that the government approach is heavy handed and as PC Pro puts it "ill thought-out, knee-jerk legislation"
Our Comments The piracy issue need to be sorted out but rather than employing a stick approach, the government should seek a more consensual solution. Anyway, the unilateral solution to push ahead with a solution to piracy based more on punishing even the innocent is likely to attract unanimous condemnation from every corner of society.