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So said Charles Dunstone, chief executive of Carphone Warehouse. In an interview given last week, he likened the battle between pirates and ISPs as a game of cat and mouse, in which the mouse (that’s the pirates to you and me) ‘always wins’.

Lady using laptop

It’s a bleak assessment. And in truth we’ve a good degree of sympathy with broadband providers in the battle against illegal file sharing. With the massed ranks of pirates on one side and a handful of usage monitors lining up for the ISPS, it must on occasion make them feel like the 300 Spartans who faced down the Syrians at Thermophylae. We all know how that clash ended.

However, we’re not sure that the outlook is quite as grim as Mr Dunstone makes out. While it’s true that hardened pirates will probably always find a way around restrictions, it’s less likely that the average user will have similar knowhow. And since these are in the majority, we’re convinced that speed humps and the like could have a positive effect.

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