Tentative noises have been made to clamp down on illegal downloads over the Internet in the UK. If ISP’s were forced to report the greatest filesharers then there will probably be a lot of shocked parents out there who may be powerless to stop their own eventual disconnection from the Internet after a three strike rule warning system (Two written warnings. After a third violation your Internet would theoretically be cut off).
Shutting The Door
Whether ISP’s would be happy to voluntarily disconnect fee paying customers is questionable though we already know they’d be more than happy to curtail the high use of bandwidth intensive services such as file sharing. Many ISP’s already employ bandwidth quotas and bandwidth throttling/shaping to limit those that consume the most bandwidth in terms of downloads, watching movies online etc.
I could see such a move happening partially by targeting the most extreme offenders but a wholesale clampdown on file sharing may just see the rapid development of new decentralised technologies that can perhaps better avoid detection. After all those that know what they’re doing will already be hiding their IP address whilst file sharing whereas the casual downloader will be blissfully unaware that their download habits may be traceable.
There are legitimate uses for file sharing too. Open source software and moving large data files around for backup are just two of the legitimate uses of this technology. Even the BBC’s iPlayer download service uses file sharing technology.
Although this is only a very tentative proposal I’d be interested to see , if eventually put in place (the logistics and politics of such a move are worrying) whether music and film purchases recoup the losses they put down to file sharing or whether these industries continue to report declining sales due entirely to a poor overpriced product.