ISPs to saddle costs of Digital Economy Act

ISPs will be pressganged into service catching pirates under the UK government's proposals to protect online copyright under the Digital Economy Act.

Ed Vaizey, the minister for communications, said that the costs, mostly in terms of sending warning letters to suspected digital pirates and the subsequent follow-up appeals process, would be shared between Internet Service Providers and copyright holders.

ISPs will pick up a quarter of the costs under the cunning plan.

In a statement Vaizey said: "Protecting our valuable creative industries, which have already suffered significant losses as a result of people sharing digital content without paying for it, is at the heart of these measures" and that such anti piracy measures could mean an extra £200 million revenue per year for the content creation market.

It is estimated that around six million people in the UK, roughly a tenth of the population, download or share copyrighted content without the permission of the rights holder.

There are concerns that any rise in expenses will be passed on to the customer with the price of broadband being raised to pay for the cost of tackling 'piracy'.