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Proposals for a new legal and regulatory framework to punish broadband users caught sharing files illegally have been formalised

Under the plans revealed in the final Digital Britain report today (June 16th), the government will introduce legislation to make it easier for the holders of digital content rights to bring civil actions against suspected file-sharers.

People caught taking part in peer-to-peer file sharing also face the possibility of having their broadband bandwidth reduced.

Lord Stephen Carter's report revealed that internet service providers (ISPs) will be required by law to maintain records of repeat offenders, which can then be used by rights holders to take targeted legal action.

The policy proposals would also see ISPs obliged to inform broadband subscribers of unlawful behaviour upon being informed of such activity by content providers.

The measures come as little surprise, with digital piracy growing at an unprecedented rate and intellectual property rights holders pressurising the government for tougher laws.

Commenting on the Digital Britain report, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that it would help to promote "a world-class digital and communications infrastructure", while also ensuring "that we promote and protect talent and innovation in our creative industries".

However, the measures on digital piracy could face opposition from ISPs, which will be left with the increased administrative costs of monitoring millions of Brits suspected of sharing files illegally over their broadband connections.

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