In a major report to be released next week a new agency will be set up to look at how the issue of online "piracy" should be tackled.
One proposal being studied is imposing a universal levy on broadband bills to compensate film and music companies for their losses from illegal downloads. Most broadband packages cost around £15 a month.
The plan is being considered by Lord Carter, the Communications Minister, who is to unveil his new report setting out his vision for Digital Britain.
The entertainment industry – which has lobbied for the fee to be introduced – estimates it will lose £1 billion over the next five years due to piracy.
Lord Carter is known to be sympathetic to the proposals, but according to industry sources (MUST KEEP), he will stop short of explicitly backing the plan for fear of slowing his drive for universal broadband across the country by 2012.
Look, the music business isn\’t the first industry to have its business model destroyed by advancing technology and it won\’t be the last, either. We don\’t tax cars to pay buggy whip manufacturers. We shouldn\’t tax those who have broadband access to pay for the illegal downloads made by some broadband customers.