August 25, 2009 | Jim Killock

New fast-track P2P clampdown proposals announced today

According to the Guardian and reports this morning, Government officials today have announced that they intend to put in place a strong clamp down on illicit file sharing to ‘support’ record and film industries they wrongly believe are threatened.

This is the wrong moment to go in this direction. Online music revenues are going up, illicit filesharing is going down.

Instead of letting the market solve the problems, the government seems intent on heavy-handed intervention, that could include disconnection and other account restrictions. This would be in direct contravention of their own goal of universal broadband access, as well as a curtailment of people’s freedom of expression.

Yet again, we see knee-jerk reactions and policy swerves, this time in direct contravention of the government’s own consultation guidelines. Those guidelines are there for a reason: to make sure government policy is balanced and considered. We will be making a formal complaint.

The result of these proposals is likely to be protest, challenges and public arguments in the run-up to the General election. Popular movements in France, Sweden and elsewhere have kick-started over similar measures.

That will do nobody any good, neither politicians nor rights-holding industries, as copyright’s reputation suffers further damage.

Copyright is under threat: from heavy handed business lobbying and simplistic enforcement proposals.

We urge you to write to your MP today.

Update: after a day of media work and conversation on the subject, there is a clear consensus - including ISPA, Carphone Warehouse and independent commentators - that Government has overstepped the mark.