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The Government is pushing to reduce illegal downloading and filesharing of music and videos online by 80 per cent in the next three years

Not content with getting internet service providers (ISPs) to write to customers who illegally download and share music online, as we reported yesterday, the Government has now set a secret target of reducing illegal filesharing by 80 per cent by 2011.

According to MediaGuardian.co.uk, the objective was outlined in a letter from Baroness Vadera, the business minister, sent on July 22.

Vadera hopes to "significantly reduce" illegal filesharing in the next two to three years.

"I would regard a reduction as 'significant' if it had reduced the number of people filesharing unlawfully in the UK by well over 50 per cent, and we hope in the region of 70-80 per cent from a baseline to be agreed, with work to start immediately, rather than waiting for legislation," she said.

More after the break

However, many commentators believe the music industry has acted too late, including our own Deputy Editor, Dominic Dawes. You can read his blog on the subject here.

Six ISPs – BT, Virgin, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse – have signed up to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

But it remains to be seen how hard they will come down on their fee-paying customers. The deal only commits broadband companies to "working towards a significant reduction"in the illegal sharing of music.