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Carter pledges file sharing snoop laws

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Digital Britain Lord Carter's interim report Digital Britain promises legislation to force ISPs to identify people using file sharing software, more promotion for DAB radio and a weakening of BT's universal service obligations.

Instead of BT having a legal duty to universal access to phone lines, there will be a shared obligation to provide everyone with broadband access. Greater network sharing will be encouraged so mobile operators can play a role in ensuring that everyone has broadband access.

The government will create a law which forces Internet Service Providers to "to notify alleged infringers of rights (subject to reasonable levels of proof from rights-holders) that their conduct is unlawful. We also intend to require ISPs to collect anonymised information on serious repeat infringers (derived from their notification activities), to be made available to rights-holders together with personal details on receipt of a court order."

There will also be consultation on how distributors and rights holders can fund "such a new approach to civil enforcement of copyright".

On DAB radio the government plans for digital migration of radio when 50 per cent of listening is done on digital and when the DAB network "is comparable with FM coverage, and local DAB reaches 90 per cent of population and all major roads".

A quango will be established to "increase the attractiveness, availability and affordability of DAB". There will also be consultation on possible legislation to give existing community radio stations a five year extension of their licences and to look again at the restriction on stations getting 50 per cent of funding from one source.

The full release is here. We have a reporter at the launch event in Westminster and will have more coverage later. ®

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