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Page last updated at 11:23 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 12:23 UK
File-sharers 'could be disconnected'

By Dan Whitworth
Newsbeat technology reporter

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and Liev Schreiber as Victor Creed
Wolverine was widely downloaded before its release

Britain's leading film, TV and music companies are demanding that the government takes stronger action against illegal downloaders.

They want internet service providers (ISPs) to be forced to disconnect customers who keep doing it.

Industry bosses say people who download films like the new Star Trek or X-Men prequel Wolverine before they were released in the cinemas are killing the business and want the law toughened up.

According to the music and film industry there are six million illegal downloaders across the UK who aren't paying.

Dean from London has been doing it for more than three years and says it's a great way of checking out new music before buying a track or album legally.

He said: "I'll usually download all night for three or four nights a week.

"I've probably got quite a few thousand songs, and maybe a hundred or two hundred films and quite a few programmes that I've downloaded.

"A lot of the time I do it because it's something like a film or a band which I don't know and I want to try out to begin with."

'Losing money'

According to the music and film companies though, it's people like Dean who are putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Richard Mollet is from record label trade body the BPI. He says the industry lost around £200m last year because of illegal downloading.

I expect what I would do is sign back up in my girlfriend's name, who I live with, on a different service. It wouldn't stop me
Illegal downloader Dean on plans to disconnect file-sharers

"It's a very serious threat. Illegal downloading costs the music and the film companies money and that means they can't pay people to work in them.

"It's as straight forward as that. If illegal downloading continues at the rate it's at, there will be a real impact on people's jobs.

The loss of profits and its impact on jobs and bringing on new talent is the reason why the BPI is calling for the law to be changed.

Richard Mollet from the BPI also thinks there are enough legal services around for people not to have to download music or films illegally.

"Now online you can go to legal services that allow you to do that try before you buy.

"You can get snatches of music on iTunes. You can go to Spotify or Last.fm where you can listen to whole tracks to see if you like them.

Laptop computer
The music industry says it's lost 200m to illegal downloading

"Those are legal services, which means that the people who made the music are getting paid."

A government report on the future of digital services in Britain is due out next month but ministers have already said they don't want to criminalise a generation of internet users.

ISPs also say cutting people off won't help stop illegal downloads but will just lose them customers instead.

Dean says any new legislation brought in by the government wouldn't stop him downloading music and films illegally.

He said: "A lot of people who have the more expensive, very fast broadband connections, the main reason for doing that would be for downloading things.

"I think they're going to lose a lot of the customers who are spending a lot of money. I really don't think they're losing as much money as they make out.

"[If I was cut off] I expect what I would do is sign back up in my girlfriend's name, who I live with, on a different service. It wouldn't stop me."



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