A combination of fierce criticism and welcome support was the mixed response from the U.K. music and digital industry following proposals outlined today (Oct.28) by U.K. cabinet minister Lord Mandelson to tackle unlawful P2P file-sharing.

Mandelson, U.K. Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, was speaking to creative industries executives at "c&binet forum", held in Hertfordshire, England, during which he proposed introducing in the U.K. legislation similar to France's controversial 'three strikes' rule - whereby serial infringers would receive warning notifications followed by the possibility of account suspension should they persist.

While BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor welcomed the news, calling the measures "a proportionate way of encouraging illegal file sharers to embrace the new services." Others in the industry were not so keen.

Steve Purdham, CEO of digital music streaming service we7, quickly issued a statement in which he was highly critical of any 'three strikes' policy describing Mandelson's proposal as one "which entirely misses the heart of the issue.

"Piracy is a reaction to an unsustainable situation, where reasonable, legitimate access to music has struggled to match demand," Purdham went onto say.

"Creating a variety of reasonable and sustainable models for providing music to consumers is key to ending rampant piracy. This is the approach that should be taken by the government rather than criminalising consumers and driving pirates further into the undergrowth," he continued.

ISPs were also unhappy at the proposals with Nicholas Lansman, secretary general of the U.K. Internet Services Providers' Association (ISPA), saying in a statement that "ISPA is extremely disappointed that Government intend to legislate to force the disconnection of users based on a notice."

He continued: "ISPs and consumer groups consider disconnection of users to be a disproportionate response, a view that has been supported by the European Parliament."

Referring to Mandelson's proposal that ISPs should partially contribute to costs of regulating and notifying copyright infringers, Lansman went onto say that "ISPA members believe that rights holders should shoulder the burden for all costs for the notification stage including reimbursement of ISPs costs."

"This approach is consistent with the principle of beneficiary pays and would serve to incentivise rights holders to develop new business models and ensure an effective and efficient use of notifications and targeted legal action," he continued.

Both ISPA and Mandelson were, however, agreed on the importance of educating people on copyright law. During his address at the "c&binet forum" Mandelson spoke passionately about the need to educate people "on the value of intellectual property rights", citing the Government's revised approach to combating piracy as the "launch pad for such an educational campaign."

That view was echoed by Lansman, who said in a statement that it is "important that consumers are given a clear and coherent message about the value of content, which is often confused by the distribution of 'free' music and films."

Tony Ballard, partner at London-based media and entertainment law firm Harbottle & Lewis, meanwhile sounded caution that, although "cutting off internet access does not breach human rights regulations", "there will be difficulties in framing a workable ‘three-strikes’ law."

"This issue over whether removing someone's internet access breaches some fundamental right has been quite clearly settled by the European Court of Justice," said Ballard in a statement.

He continued: "It ruled in a Spanish file sharing case last year that a user's fundamental rights are not absolute but have to be weighed against the rights of others, including copyright owners. It is for individual states and their courts to hold the balance. It is that which will allow the disconnection in the UK of computers used for illegal file sharing."