U.K. record industry trade body the BPI and the organization that represents British Internet Service Providers have clashed over the best approach to tackle illegal file-sharing, as both sides attempt to influence a new government strategy on the issue.

The "Digital Britain" report is due next month and it will contain measures on file-sharing, although all the signs are that the U.K. government prefers a more measured approach than the three-strikes system being enacted in France. The interim report advocated a system of written warnings to copyright infringers and an easier process for targeted action by rights holders.

However, a coalition of music, film and TV industry organizations and trade union representatives has issued a statement calling on the government to go further and force ISPs into taking action against P2P activity.

Speaking at the joint meeting in London of the Federation of Entertainment Unions, U.K. Film Council and BAFTA on the future of the creative industries, BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor added that copyright infringement threatened thousands of jobs in the copyright sector.

"An endless free lunch for consumers when it comes to digital content is unsustainable," he said. "Unless ministers strengthen proposals for ISPs to deal with illegal behavior online a 'creative crunch' will follow - investment in new British talent will ultimately dry up.

"The Internet cannot be a place where respect for the law is abandoned. Even though the music business is creatively fit and strong, free-loading reduces investment in new music and in turn threatens the jobs of thousands of young people working in A&R, recording, marketing and promotion."

Ahead of the publication of the "Digital Britain" report, Taylor urged the government to recognize that the music industry has already transformed its business models for the digital era and to understand that a "write and sue policy" - the warning letters combined with targeted legal action - will "not be effective."

He added that ministers should use the remaining year of the current parliament "to introduce legislation requiring ISPs to act against persistent illegal downloaders."

Responding to the general policy statement, the Internet Services Providers' Association (ISPA U.K.) said that its members "remain extremely frustrated by the ongoing difficulties in securing licensing that is needed to offer consumers legal alternatives through new models of online content distribution. It is our view that legislation on enforcement should only be introduced on the condition that the rights holder industry commits to significant licensing reform."

The statement added: "ISPA continues to dispute calls from some elements of the creative industries for the disconnection of users or technological measures as a method of dealing with potential infringers of copyright online. ISPA members have consistently explained that significant technological advances would be required if these measures are to reach a standard where they would be admissible as evidence in court. ISPs and consumer groups consider disconnection of users to be a disproportionate response, a view that was recently supported by the European Parliament."

"ISPA recognises that there is a problem with unlawful P2P file sharing, but it is important to recognise that a major part of the solution lies in licensing reform and the availability of legal content online," added ISPA Secretary General Nicholas Lansman. "ISPA remains committed to working with the government and the creative industries to find a solution which balances the needs of all parties and is fair for consumers."