In the latest effort to help stop illegal file sharing over the internet, the UK government has warned it will impose legal sanctions on ISPs by April 2009 if they do not work with the music and film industries to curb “rampant piracy.”

The government appears to be taking the matter very seriously, as merely two weeks ago it also proposed legislation to have ISPs cut off persistent offenders’ internet service under a “three strikes” system. Of course, there’s the privacy issue. If the government’s new legislation is approved, every ISP will be forced to monitor the activity of its users – which ISPs have stated is near impossible, highlighting that it would be like asking the postal service to monitor the contents of every envelope posted.

But the whole idea of imposing legal sanctions to ISPs could very well be a bluff. According to UK’s Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, there is “no burning desire to legislate,” ISPs could hold legal action off if they work alongside the music and film industries to help address the problem in a different way.

One thing is for sure, these laws would be welcome news to the music and film industries which have frequently blamed piracy and the illegal sharing of copyrighted material online as the primary cause for a slump in sales.