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A recently published report has put a deadline on illegal filesharing, it has emerged.

The publication is the result of a joint consultation by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and two other government departments tasked with encouraging creative economic growth in the UK.

Under the proposals, UK internet service providers (ISPs) will have a responsibility to actively stem current trends in the illegal downloading of copyrighted material.

If there is not significant cooperation between ISPs and rightsholders, the report states that legislation will be enacted by April 2009 to force action on the issue.

"While a voluntary industry agreement remains our preferred option, we have made clear that we will not hesitate to legislate in this area if required," the report states.

Ahead of the report, Andy Burnham, culture secretary, told the Financial Times that it sent a "clear signal" on the government's commitment to tackling online piracy, which the music and film industry have blamed for a sharp slump in sales in recent years.

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