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THE CASH STRAPPED British Government plans to make the public give the entertainment industry £500 million.According to the Times, the cash will be used to disconnect subscribers from broadband if the entertainment industry thinks they have been infringing copyrights.The "three strikes and you're out" Digital Economy Bill, for which the entertainment industry has been lobbying hard, will leave consumers with a bill for £500 million. This is the projected cost of forcing ISPS to send warning letters to anyone accused of swapping copyrighted material illegally, and to suspend or slow the connections of those so accused who refuse to stop.ISPs say that such interference with their customers' connections would add £25 a year to a broadband subscription. British ministers say that the cost of the initial letter-writing campaign, estimated at an extra £1.40 per subscription, will lead to 40,000 households giving up their Internet connections.However assessments published alongside the Bill predict that the measures will generate £1.7 billion in extra sales for the music and film industries over the next ten years, as well as recovery of £350 million by the Government in extra VAT.This is not a bad investment return for £500 million although it will be the music and film industries that profit at the country's net expense.There is little support in Parliament for such a move being banned. Ministers will just put their increased ISP charges on their expenses, along with their second houses and bell towers.But Charles Dunstone, chief executive of Carphone Warehouse, whose subsidiary is the largest UK ISP Talktalk, points out that it is unfair that broadband consumers should have to bail out the music and film companies. "If they really think that it's worth spending vast sums of money on these measures then they should be footing the bill; not the consumer," he told the Times.British Telecom also said that the plans represented "collective punishment that goes against natural justice." John Petter, managing director of BT Retail's consumer division, said, "Put yourself in the shoes of a small businessman who has a rogue member of staff. Your Internet access could get cut off because of the actions of one individual. It really feels like the UK is out on a limb with these proposals compared to the rest of the world."The Digital Economy Bill is being rushed through Parliament before the general election next year.
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to abolish the proposed law that will see alleged illegal file sharers disconnected from their broadband connections, without a fair trial.