The British government has vowed to take up the fight on illegal file-sharing as part of a multi-stage action plan intended to ensure the prosperity of the country's creative industries.

Should the recording industry fail to break its impasse with Internet service providers on P2P activity by early 2009, the government will take action by means of legislation.

It's one of 26 key commitments for government and industry, published today in "Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy."

In the absence of a voluntary solution between rights holders and ISPs, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport report claims that the government "will shortly consult on options for a statutory solution," with a view to implementing legislation by April 2009.

John Kennedy, chairman and chief executive of IFPI, described the proposal as a "sea-change in attitude".

"I welcome the U.K. government's change of tone and serious legislative intent," Kennedy said in a statement issued today. "Within the space of only four months, two governments, in France and Britain, have now embraced the simple idea that Internet service providers are uniquely positioned to help in the fight against digital piracy."

Kennedy adds, "This is a sea-change in attitude and I believe it is now up to governments elsewhere in Europe and further afield to follow their example."

Commenting ahead of today's publication, Liberal Democrat Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, Don Foster warned that the government must guarantee privacy rights are respected.

"Illegal file sharing is a serious threat to the British music industry," Foster said, "but the Government must ensure that the right to privacy remains an absolute priority. We will resist any new laws which undermine the principles behind existing data protection laws."

Britain follows the lead of its neighbor France, whose President Nicolas Sarkozy last November unveiled a government-brokered agreement on tackling Internet music and film piracy. The French Memorandum of Understanding supports the creation of a government body, which will operate a system of warnings leading to the suspension or termination of Internet subscriptions used for illegal file-sharing, using information provided by ISPs on high-volume file transferral.

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