... while claiming new file sharing policy won’t work

Steve Dinneen
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The government’s defense of its Digital Economy Bill calling for internet service providers to ban known file sharers has been rubbished by telecoms firms.

An internet petition called for the rules, designed to stop piracy of content including films, books and music and backed by business secretary Lord Mandelson, to be scrapped as they could lead to innocent users being penalised. The government hit back at the allegations, claiming it would only use the rules in “extreme cases.”

However, TalkTalk yesterday claimed the announcement is “nothing more than semantics.”

A spokesman said: “The detection system will implicate innocent people. The bill will give rights holders the power to demand ISPs disconnect their customers without having to prove their case in a court of law. TalkTalk is the only major ISP that has said it will simply refuse to do this and will fight its case in every court in the land and in Europe if it has to.”

A Virgin spokesman echoed this, saying: “New and compelling legitimate services are the only way to persuade a generation that has grown up with ‘free’ to give up illegal downloading. Relying on coercion in the absence of these alternatives will fail and alienate large swathes of mainstream internet users in the process.”