U.K. intellectual property minister David Lammy has defended the government's revised proposal to include suspension of Internet accounts as an option to tackle illegal file-sharing, while calling on industry to help develop new services.

Lammy was speaking to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in Washington today (Sept. 3), although his comments apply to both the movie and music industries.

The speech coincided with public opposition to the proposals today from various quarters. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) including Talk Talk, Orange U.K. and BT joined with consumer rights organization Consumer Focus in signing a letter to the Times, which described any obligations to suspend consumers' accounts as "misconceived" and a threat to consumers' rights and the development of new services.

Meanwhile, a joint statement from the Featured Artists Coalition, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and the Music Producers Guild also condemns the plan.

"We vehemently oppose the proposals being made and suggest that the stick is now in danger of being way out of proportion to the carrot," said the statement. "The failure of 30,000 U.S. lawsuits against consumers and the cessation of the pursuit of that policy should be demonstration enough that this is not a policy that any future-minded U.K. government should pursue."

The proposal to add suspension as an option for sanctions alongside technical measures - a graduated response likely to begin with a warning - was published last month by the department for Business, Innovation and Skills, headed by Lord Mandelson. It was not included in the original Digital Britain report in June but is now part of the consultation process.

Lammy said that he favors "freedom" but stressed that it didn't mean free, and he called for more effective law enforcement as well as cooperation between the U.K. and U.S.

He said that the new option to suspend accounts was proof that the government is "not standing still" on the issue of P2P.

Lammy said that "new work against illicit P2P file-sharing, including possible suspension of Internet access for persistent infringers" showed that government is "sending a clear message: when it comes to piracy and infringement, 'digital is not different.'"

However, Lammy also said the industry had to work to ensure consumers turned away from illegal services.

"Partnership and innovation by businesses can help consumers understand the problems illegal downloads cause creators and performers, giving them the knowledge and confidence they need to act within the law," said Lammy. "If we provide the right combination of enforcement, education and forward-looking policy we can build a culture that provides consumers with legitimate access to the content they want."

Lammy also commented on the complexity surrounding licensing and rights clearance for digital services, insisting that it needs to change.

"The conclusion is obvious - clear and simple systems for rights clearance and permission will benefit everyone," he said.