Thursday, July 20, 2006

More Fun with Ted and Alice but not the BPI

Not a great week for ISPs what with the BPI/Tiscali spat and this.

Also from OUT-Law :

"A music industry coalition has proposed that ISPs and others should pay a licence fee to compensate rights-holders for unlawful file-sharing by their customers. One critic called the plans, which would change copyright laws, "ill-conceived and grasping."

The group met in London yesterday. It did not represent the entire UK industry – notably, the BPI was not in attendance. But nearly 1,000 independent record companies and 50,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers were represented.

.. the groups represented yesterday do not want to target the individuals who infringe copyright in this way. Instead, they want to target the intermediaries. According to a joint statement issued after yesterday's meeting, ISPs, mobile companies and device manufacturers "profit extensively and reap wider value from the unauthorised distribution of music whilst being protected from liability by a series of legal immunities and safe harbours." There were no ISPs in attendance at the meeting."

So, the return of the ISPs' "dirty little secret", the idea that ISPs profit indirectly from downloading and therefore condone it (even though most broadband contracts are now flat rate rather than per MB). Somehow I can't see this one catching on with the UK Govt right now though. If ISPs got taxed for profiting from downloading and uploading, why they might stop co-operating with the IWF (and the police) in stopping access to child porn. Which voters like a lot less than they do the odd downloader.

My I'm cynical tonight.

Less obviously, ISPs already do quite often disconnect or at least cap the accounts of conspicuous bandwidth hogs. This doesn't give royalties back to the musicians but it does more quietly contribute to the control of filesharing in the UK, probably to quite a large extent.

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