What happens if you get caught out sharing copyright music or video online? If you live in Hull, in the north of the UK, the answer will probably surprise you. At the same time that most Internet Service Providers are applauding the recent Digital Britain report from the government which argued against the music industry 'three strikes' approach admitting this was not the government's preferred option, the only broadband ISP in Hull (yes really) has decided that even a three strikes option is too lenient.
If you want to get a broadband Internet connection in Hull then you have to go through the Karoo ISP as Hull is the only city in the UK which has a single, solitary broadband provider. This is because there are no British Telecom lines in the area at all, instead telecommunications and data services are primarily provided by Kingston Communications, and Karoo is part of Kingston.
According to the BBC Karoo is cutting off, without warning, those users who are suspected of file sharing. Copyright owners can notify Karoo of the illegal sharing, if it confirms the usage it will suspend the account. The customers are then asked to sign a legal waiver in which they promise not to do it again, and only then will Karoo reinstate the broadband service.
The BBC says that "some customers have had their accounts suspended for more than two years."
Surely such drastic and direct action should be something for the courts to decide, after a fair trial, rather than being left to a monopoly holding ISP? The issue of no warnings being given is particularly severe it seems, meaning that the customer has no opportunity to defend the allegation - and after all, at this stage that really is all it can be.