The UK government's focus on enforcement is missing the bigger picture in peer-to-peer file sharing problems, a new study argues.

Andy Frost, Director of Media at Detica, the UK- based business and technology consultancy, said in a statement that the UK Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) needs to rethink its consultation on illicit peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing.

Frost said; 'While we commend BERR's focus on upholding copyright, we believe the practicalities of enforcement will prove too costly and time-consuming for the ISPs to administer. The best solution will be one that meets the needs of the broader community of artists, consumers and labels - and the ISPs that bind them - and not one that fixates on the labels and the hardcore criminal minority that threatens them'.

Detica argues that stronger collaboration between Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and the entertainment industry is the only way to make it easier for consumers to download music and films legally, whilst providing fair returns for artists.

Frost suggests that the spirit of the consultation is overly focused on the interests of record labels.

'Any solution will need to encapsulate the needs of other stakeholders too, especially artists and consumers who are not necessarily able to demonstrate such a united front to the Government,' he said.

The consultant suggests an alternative approach that would promote collaboration through industry adoption of a voluntary framework where ISPs deploy advanced technology to identify where and when copyrighted files are being downloaded.

This includes what is known as scaleable intelligence technology that would enable IPS to deliver new business models such as a 'per track' download fee or an 'all in' monthly subscription service.

In this scenario, users will be charged automatically for any files they download or share.

Detica suggests bypassing the significant costs and potential ineffectiveness of an enforcement-focused regime. The company claims this solution will enable any profit generated by user downloads to be shared proportionately between ISPs, labels and artists.

While the ISPs would need to absorb the set-up costs of the technology, the argument is that this could provide a win-win situation that costs less than administering an enforcement-focused solution.