Internet piracy is a serious problem. All over the world, industries are losing billions to illegal downloads. There seems to be no solution. For as long as music, movies, software programs and the like are made illegally available and for as long as people have internet connection, then it seems inevitable.

Personally, I think applications like iTunes and Kindle partly solve the problem. The popularity of the application has shown that people are perfectly willing to pay a minimal fee to download music or books LEGALLY if -- and that's the operative word -- the whole mechanics is made easy and convenient for consumers. After all, that's the biggest sell of illegal downloads. It's not really because they're free. But because of easy access and convenience.

However, people in the industry don't think it's enough or that it's working fast enough to overturn all their losses. After all, there are more people who illegally download stuff everyday than there are people who get the same stuff via legal means. WHAT SHOULD THEY DO THEN?

In the UK, they have the answer. A bill was recently passed that could spell the end for illegal downloads. Or at the very least, make Internet users seriously think before clicking that DOWNLOAD button. The Digital Economy Bill is aimed at stopping people illegally downloading copyrighted material from the internet. Illegal downloaders could face life internet ban.

The bill is not yet a law as it still has to pass through the House of Lords. Even so, controversy has surrounded the bill from its inception. You can read about the arguments against the bill from the link above. But personally, what I find alarming about it is that it basically proposes to achieve its purpose by monitoring internet usage. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) would be obliged to submit reports of their subscribers' bandwidth usage to the government agency tasked to implement the law. It raises the issue of whether or not this constitutes violation of privacy and the people's right to free access to information via channels like the internet.

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