Digital Britain "obligates" ISPs to keep records on filesharers

29% of British people have used filesharing sites to download music, claims the government. 21% have downloaded movies and TV and 15% have downloaded software and videogames.

If that's you, then you might be interested to hear what the government plans to do about it, announced in the "Digital Britain" report today. It plans to legislate so that it becomes "easier and cheaper" for content companies to litigate against their customers.

On top of that, there'll be an "obligation" for ISPs to notify filesharers that they've been caught infringing. ISPs will have to keep records of the most frequent offenders, so that targeted legal action can be taken against them.

The government has calculated that it'll cost ISPs £35 million to implement this system, with a further annual cost of £30 to £50 million. The government says that the bonus to the content companies will be in the region of £200 million annually. That, the government says, will give a net benefit over 10 years of £1.2 billion.

However, there's reason to doubt that £200 million figure. The government admits in the report that the figure comes from the content industries and that it hasn't been able to "fully assess the reliability of the methodology used in the music, TV and film studies".

Despite this being an attempt to find a compromise between two wildly different positions, both sides have issued statements damning the proposals. The BPI - a trade body that represents the interests of the four major labels - has said that the scheme amounts to no more than "digital dithering".

Whereas Interoute - a company who provide data networks to ISPs - told Pocket-lint that "one hand is being bitten off to feed the other", saying that ISPs will have to raise their prices to consumers, while being unable to offer any additional services or benefits.

The due date for the implementation of the legislation is marked on the report as "TBC", which is rather telling. The government doesn't want to try and force a compromise that neither side are happy with.

In the meantime, we suspect that the government is hoping that the rise of ad-supported, on-demand services like iPlayer and Spotify will help curb the rise in filesharing that increasing broadband speeds and penetration will bring.