The chief executive of British Telecom has slammed proposals included in the Digital Economy Bill that will grant authorities the power to disconnect file-sharers from the internet.
Instead, boss Ian Livingston believes that offenders should be fined rather than cut-off, with the money generated used to compensate the creative industries or fund the Government’s national broadband rollout pledges.
“If someone is accused a fine can be issued, a bit like a speeding offence," he told the BBC. “They can appeal it. If they don't appeal it then they pay a fine. I'm trying to be constructive, not destructive.”
BT joins the likes of Google, Facebook, Virgin Media, Yahoo and Orange in signing a letter sent to The Financial Times urging changes to the upcoming legislation in the light of a recent amendment proposed by the Liberal Democrats that allows for sites hosting illegal material to be blocked.
“To rush through such a controversial proposal at the tail end of parliament, without any kind of consultation with consumers or industry, is very poor lawmaking,” the letter reads.
“[The amendment] could have unintended consequences which far outweigh any benefits and threaten freedom of speech and the open internet, without reducing copyright infringement as intended.
“The bill could have an adverse impact on the reputation of the UK as a place to do online business.”