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Pledge to reduce by 70% over 3 years “based on the premise” that measures to combat piracy would be “taken from July 2008 onwards.”The ink on the UK gov t’s Digital Britain Report is barely dry and already it finds itself unable to reduce illegal file-sharing by 70% over two to three years as reiterated from an earlier pledge last July.Why? Because according to a letter leaked to the Times, UK Culture Ben Bradshaw says the time frame was “based on the premise” that measures to combat piracy would be “taken from July 2008 onwards.”Bradshaw said that “a more constructive approach” would be “to take as our starting point the time at which obligations on ISPS take effect.”With a bill based on the Digital Britain Report not expected to become law until 2010 at the earliest, it means an effective push back date of 18 months from the time the promise was first made.A goal of 70% reduction in piracy was in the Digital Britain report issued last month. The report referred to surveys that indicate notifications are sufficient to “stop or significantly reduce” a user’s file-sharing activity. But the report left open the possibility of harsher anti-piracy measures if softer measures did not produce the desired results.Interestingly enough, not only is the start time of the 70% goal flexible, but the yardstick used to gauge anti-piracy measures’ effectiveness is as well. A 70% reduction in piracy could be achieved by an actual 35% reduction in piracy.In the example contained in the Digital Britain report, warning letters are sent to half of all ISP subscribers. If those letters resulted in a 70% reduction letter recipients’ piracy, the 70% benchmark would have been achieved even though there would have been only a 35% decrease in piracy.From the Digital Britain Report:The Proportionate Notification Response trigger that we propose, should be focused on measuring the efficacy of the scheme involving a notification procedure, legal action and other measures as set out above in relation to achieving the 70% target for reduction in unlawful sharing. We therefore believe that the trigger should be calculated by (a) taking the number of unique individuals notified and (b) assessing what percentage of those notified have stopped unlawful file sharing, either voluntarily or due to prosecution. If that percentage does not exceed or is not significantly close to 70% the mechanism will be triggered.With the annual cost to ISPs for the plan to be about £290-500 million ($476-821 million USD) with no mention of who’s responsible for the tab – it certainly won’t be copyright holders – unworkable benchmarks like a phantom 70% make their anti-P2P plans seem even more foolish.Instead of warning letters and disconnections it ought to focus its resources on giving consumers what they want.Steve Jobs arguably did it for the music industry, whom is still kicking and screaming about iTunes by the way, so why can’t we do the same for other content industries concerned about turning a profit?Study after study has shown that P2P actually INCREASES music consumption. It’s time we quit listening to the whining of record label cartels and force them to compete in the marketplace like everybody else.