Internet users who illegally download music and films could see their web access restricted under new plans to be unveiled next week, reports claim.

The Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) will announce a "three-strikes" plan for people involved in illegal downloads, with a warning email sent for a first offence, the suspension of their internet service for the second and the termination of their internet contract for the third, according to a document obtained by the Times newspaper.

The proposals are part of the department's green paper on the creative industries, and will confirm plans to make internet service providers (ISPs) legally required to "take action on illegal file-sharing", the newspaper claims.

The move comes as four of Britain's biggest ISPs - BT, Tiscali, Orange and Virgin Media - are in talks with film studios over a voluntary scheme to share information regarding internet piracy.

Roz Groome, vice-president of antipiracy for NBC Universal, said the industry welcomed the government proposals.

"It values the health of the creative industries and takes seriously the damage caused by widespread online copyright infringement. We call upon ISPs to take action now.

"They must play their part in the fight against online piracy and work with rights owners to ensure that ISPs' customers do not use their services for illegal activity."

She added: "Piracy stifles innovation and threatens the long term health of our industry."

A DCMS spokesperson commented: "Early drafts of our creative economy programme document were circulated to stakeholders for comment. The content and proposals for the strategy have been significantly developed since then and a comprehensive plan to bolster the UK's creative industries will be published shortly.

"We will not comment on the content of the leaked document."

12/02/2008 09:54:22