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“Illegal downloads”, how will it affect you as an employer, hotel owner, or parent. Many teenagers are downloading material or file sharing, some sites encourage the downloading of material, how do you react when it is an illegal download. What is an “illegal download?”

If the work shared or downloaded is from someone who exercises rights over that material, can you ever share it, or keep it? Copyright, was originally designed to protect books, and their authors from suffering fiancially, so now when the music industry is making such huge profits does the protection now extend too far? There have been some large fines for illegally downloading material handed out by the Courts but the Government is seeking to place the responsibility on the internet providers to report anyone using large amounts of bandwidth. Is that fair. The Government in France proposed a “three strikes and you’re out” policy, asking internet service providers to cut off those users who fail to adhere to a warning, which the French Courts outlawed. The Government here is proposing the same kind of thing. Its policy has yet to be published and may now require a complete review. US Courts have fined a woman in excess of $1m for illegal downloads. Is that fair? The Spanish authorities view illegal downloads as something not to make money from, so you can use the downloads but not sell for profit. Is that fairer?

This area of the law will continue to develop and internet service providers are concerned that they will become policeman and enforcer. Why should they?