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Ofcom Asks ISPs To Blacklist "Serial" File Sharers

Telecommunication watchdog Ofcom has revealed today that Internet service providers across the country are being required to maintain a detailed list of internet users who regularly pirate copyrighted content.

The steps are being taken in a bid to reduce piracy and will be delivered as a draft code of practice for players in the ISP market to abide by. Content producers like record labels will not have access to this list which means that they won't be able to pick and choose who to sue.

The current plans calls for culprits to be flagged thrice - the so called three strikes - by three different entities before action is taken and a letter is sent. But it won't be an easy tasks for the content owners - they will have to provide with some sort of proof like an IP address.

Furthermore, if an illegal filesharer got only two strikes over one year, he or she will be able to start with a clean sheet after the 12 months window. In addition, fixed line ISPs with less than 400,000 subscribers and mobile broadband providers (even as part of bigger brands) won't be covered by the code of practice - which was part of the rushed Digital Economy Act 2010.

The list of ISPs that will have to obey the rule will include BT, Talk Talk, Virgin Media, Sky, Orange, O2 and the Post Office. Note that the likes of The Cloud will be covered by the draft code once the threshold of 400,000 users is reached.

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.