UK Government will not cut off file-sharers 'willy nilly'

Persistent file-sharers would not be cut off 'willy nilly' in plans for a tough crackdown on Internet piracy by the British government, according to Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw. Lord Mandelson said last month that persistent file-sharers could have their connections cut-off, but only after written warnings.

Appearing before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Bradshaw was asked if suspected file-sharers would be able to prove their innocence in court.

Answering the question, Bradshaw said, "Yes, absolutely. The suspension to which you refer, which would be as a very last resort for serial and serious infringement, would be subject to a strict two-stage process. It wouldn't just happen on the basis of an accusation ... firstly there would need to be a court order for any of the technical measures."

He added that a court order would be the last resort and that he hoped the impression was not that "innocent teenagers are going to be cut off willy nilly on the basis of an accusation. That is not our intention."

Bradshaw also said that he believes there shouldn't be "anarchy" on the Internet.

"This is a problem which governments around the world have been grappling with," he said. "I do not accept the argument that there should be anarchy on the internet, that everyone should be able to access what they like free of charge."

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