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Fifty Strikes and… we'll tell your Mum

Serial file sharing OK, say Lib Dems

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Unlicensed file sharers have a new name to toast this morning: Lord Razzall. Together with his Lib Dem colleague, the party's spokesperson for Culture, Media and Sport Lord Clement Jones, Razzall has tabled an amendment (No.76) to the Digital Economy Bill that gives serial infringers a bit of leeway.

Well, quite a lot of leeway.

The amendment suggests action should be taken only after "the internet service provider has received fifty or more copyright infringement reports about the relevant subscriber from the copyright owner for that period."

So it's not three strikes, but fifty strikes, before you're out. Or, "fifty free download sessions". Which come to think of it, almost sounds like a business plan. It's certainly closer to a business plan than anything official we've seen for months; the music business is keener applying the thumbscrews than fulfilling its part of the bargain to come up with new music services.

Last year, labels killed the world's first licensed P2P file sharing network (Virgin) and one label is stalling on an unlimited downloads service, again with Virgin.

I'd pay for that bundle of fifty sessions. Wouldn't you?

Both extremes of the copyright debate seem determined to show us that they're as deranged as each other. Last week, we revealed the BPI wanted to introduce a no-questions-asked takedown regime similar to the US DMCA - only with no "safe harbour" provisions. It would have allowed rights holders to remove large chunks of published material at a stroke. Very handy if you're allergic to devising new business plans.

At 8pm last night, the Lordships were again working their way through the hundreds of amendments appended to the Digital Economy legislation (the "Mandy Bill"). We'll bring you the highlights shortly. ®

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